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Anti-Musharraf sentiments rising in Pakistan's Army

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    Anti-Musharraf sentiments rising in Pakistan's Army

    ISLAMABAD: Young officers of Pakistan Army and its lower ranking personnel have started questioning the logic behind their Chief of Army Staff’s blind following of the American dictates by opening a new front on the west to clear the «mess» created by the Americans in Afghanistan, says a report published by News Week.

    The report says: «Now, in mess halls and officer barracks throughout the country, soldiers are asking, ‘what’s in it for us?’ Old grudges and new concerns may be giving rise to an anti-American feeling within the Pakistani officer corps, blunting the effectiveness of the U.S. war on terror». «The Americans always want our support, but then they don’t reciprocate on Kashmir or with long-term military or economic aid», says one Army major. «We’ve been burned before».

    According to the report many Pakistani men joined the Army to defend their homeland from India. They are ready and willing to fight and die, if necessary. The problem is, for many of these men, they are fighting the wrong enemy. Young officers, ranging in rank from captain to colonel, are not convinced they should be risking their lives on Pakistan’s new, western front to hunt down Taliban and Qaeda remnants.

    The report further says that these missions in support of the U.S.-led war on terror require patrolling rugged areas, where troops could face threats from local tribes as much as from Qaeda holdouts. «America forced these guys in here», grouses one colonel, «and now we are being asked to clean up their mess».

    The News Week reports that self-appointed Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf continues to promise the risks are worth the rewards. But the rank and file of Pakistan Army are not so sure. Musharraf also tells his officers that the United States has promised to assist him in bringing India to the negotiating table over Kashmir, and that significant military aid will be forthcoming from Washington.

    But, the report says, officers differ in their definitions of a terrorist. Some, especially those who served a tour of duty in the military’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence branch and who helped train many of the militants for the Kashmir «jihad», tend to sympathize with their former charges. And some younger officers worry that a blanket crackdown on militants comes dangerously close to the suppression of Islam.

    Pakistani officers, young and old, see themselves as leaders of a «pro-people force», says Rifaat Hussain as quoted by the News Week. Consequently, the Pakistani Army is unlikely to launch assaults on right-wing religious parties as its counterparts in Algeria and Egypt have done, say retired officers. «The Army is very reluctant to be put into a situation in which they are in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with a popular demonstration, whether the protesters are Punjabi or tribesmen», adds Hussain.

    For that reason Musharraf was slow to deploy the Army in the tribal areas into which Taliban and Qaeda fighters fled to escape the heavy U.S. bombing campaigns. Many of the tribes are ethnic Pashtun and therefore have deep sympathies for the largely Pashtun Taliban and its Qaeda allies. The military is still haunted by the specter of a bloody, 18-month-long, anti-government tribal insurgency that broke out along the Afghan border in 1973. The Army was called in to crush the separatist revolt and has never divulged the extent of the carnage that led to the insurrection’s collapse.

    Now for the first time since the uprising, the Army has dispatched infantry regulars in large numbers—some 40,000—into the tribal areas to hunt the Taliban and Al Qaeda. But the troops are moving gingerly. «The Army is reluctant to disturb the status quo in the tribal belt in a manner that could provoke an unnecessary backlash and perhaps re-ignite anti-government activity», says Hussain.

    According to the report, Musharraf has stonewalled Washington’s requests to allow U.S. troops into the tribal territories. He has also refused repeated American requests to increase the number of U.S. intelligence personnel operating there. Musharraf is intent on keeping their numbers in the dozens, not the hundreds. Those restrictions on the Americans sit well with most officers. «I don’t like working with Americans», offers one senior Pakistani officer who says his views reflect those of younger officers. «Their demands keep increasing».

    Not only are the number of FBI, CIA and U.S. Army personnel working with the Pakistani Army strictly limited, so are their size and color. Pakistan is refusing to allow «blacks, blonds and six-footers» to accompany the troops, according to the senior officer. They have to wear Pakistani Army uniforms, speak local languages and be able to pass as locals.

    The Balochistan Post, www.balochistanpost.com
    http://kavkaz.org/eng/article.php?id=931

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Image

    Watch as American soldiers hide behind a wall and an Afghan tribesman goes in to the field. This is what the Pakistani soldiers are talking about.

    [This message has been edited by Yemeen (edited July 09, 2002).]

    #2
    Ain't it the same news survey I've heard about two/three days ago majority people against Musahrraf, WITHOUT ANY %?

    Comment


      #3
      Interesting picture, but I don't think it tells the full story.

      Comment


        #4
        I believe Pakistani News Paper are having a little hard time

        You know, no % of people against Musharraf, Duh!

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          #5
          I read in a article done by a big news group, Mush's popularity ratings were at 33%. I'll post it when I find it later.

          [This message has been edited by RealDeal (edited July 10, 2002).]

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by RealDeal:
            I read in a article done by a big news group, Mush's popularity ratings were at 33%. I'll post it when I find it later.
            Perhaps, majority of people would be PPP, PML, MQM, Qazi Bhai supporters and so on


            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Pakistani Tiger:
              Perhaps, majority of people would be PPP, PML, MQM, Qazi Bhai supporters and so on

              Maybe, but the ratings have dropped. Meaning people are not supporting him anymore. I don't think politicial party supporters would have ever supported him.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by RealDeal:
                Maybe, but the ratings have dropped. Meaning people are not supporting him anymore. I don't think politicial party supporters would have ever supported him.
                We'll see later

                We gonna have problem here. All way no way!

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Pakistani Tiger:
                  We'll see later

                  We gonna have problem here. All way no way!
                  What do you mean?

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                    #10
                    Would you rather have G.I Joes running around
                    unchecked in Pakistan and adding to the collateral damage in war on terrorism OR you would have Pakistani military leading them side by side?
                    Im afraid, Pakistan cant backtrack now, it has to go along with getting rid of whatever remnants of Al-qaida etc are hiding in those areas. It would be better for us that they are captured before they cause anymore casualties, civilian or military, in Pak.
                    Anti-american sentiment, if its true, among lower ranking personnel can be understandable. In the past, American heads of state have used Pakistan for their national interests, and believe me, Musharraf, having served in the Army for a long time is well aware of that and nonchalant attitude of America on Kashmir issue. But he has to go with the US plan at this time for the benefit of Pakistan.

                    ------------------
                    "#define QUESTION ((bb) | | !(bb))" — Shakespeare
                    I am only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by RealDeal:
                      What do you mean?
                      Nevermind

                      Chill!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Those ppl who are so jealous of the stance that the chief of the largest and best instituition in Pakistan took can post such articles all they want, but the fact of the matter is, the armed forces stand united behind its chief, whether any fundo likes it or not. There is a strict line between religious zealots and our army...

                        Young officers raising concerns, hah... Anyone who has experience with the army knows that a young officer (like a captain) would never even dare to question the orders of his seniors. They have a bond in which they pledge not to take political opinions, and some ppl are thinking they are rebelling, hehehe...

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