NEWS, ANALYSIS & OPINION: The road from Washington to Karachi to nuclear anarchy

Are you with us… or against us?

The journey to the martial law just imposed on Pakistan by its self-appointed president, the dictator Pervez Musharraf, began in Washington on September 11, 2001. On that day, it so happened, Pakistan’s intelligence chief, Lt. General Mahmood Ahmed, was in town. He was summoned forthwith to meet with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who gave him perhaps the earliest preview of the global Bush doctrine then in its formative stages, telling him, “You are either one hundred percent with us or one hundred percent against us.”

The next day, the administration, dictating to the dictator, presented seven demands that a Pakistan that wished to be “with us” must meet. These concentrated on gaining its cooperation in assailing Afghanistan’s Taliban regime, which had long been nurtured by the Pakistani intelligence services in Afghanistan and had, of course, harbored Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda training camps. Conspicuously missing was any requirement to rein in the activities of Mr. A.Q. Khan, the “father” of Pakistan’s nuclear arms, who, with the knowledge of Washington, had been clandestinely hawking the country’s nuclear-bomb technology around the Middle East and North Asia for some years. [complete article]

U.S. is looking past Musharraf in case he falls

Almost two weeks into Pakistan’s political crisis, Bush administration officials are losing faith that the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, can survive in office and have begun discussing what might come next, according to senior administration officials.

In meetings on Wednesday, officials at the White House, State Department and the Pentagon huddled to decide what message Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte would deliver to General Musharraf — and perhaps more important, to Pakistan’s generals — when he arrives in Islamabad on Friday.

Administration officials say they still hope that Mr. Negroponte can salvage the fractured arranged marriage between General Musharraf and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. But in Pakistan, foreign diplomats and aides to both leaders said the chances of a deal between the leaders were evaporating 11 days after General Musharraf declared de facto martial law. [complete article]

Musharraf foe is detained in Pakistan

The opposition politician Imran Khan emerged from hiding today to the cheers of hundreds of students at a protest demonstration against Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, at a university here and was quickly seized by hard-line students and turned over to the police, witnesses said.

In another development, Benazir Bhutto has started to rally opposition parties into a coordinated movement against General Musharraf, her party spokeswoman, Sherry Rehman, said in an interview today.

Ms. Bhutto, a former prime minister who has been placed under house arrest in Lahore, has contacted the main opposition parties and has received a favorable response, Ms. Rehman said. ”She wants a one-point agenda — the restoration of democracy,” Ms. Rehman said. [complete article]

For Musharraf, quitting army may end support

On any given day during the last eight years, President Pervez Musharraf was most likely to be found not at the ornate presidential compound in the capital, but here in this garrison city: at his desk at army headquarters, clad in familiar camouflage fatigues, greeted everywhere with the crisp salutes and studied deference accorded a four-star general.

Now, a farewell to arms appears inevitable, if not imminent.

Under a timetable he pledged to before he put his country under de facto martial law, the general was supposed to have stepped down as military chief today, before being sworn in for a new presidential term. Despite enormous domestic and international pressure, Musharraf will almost certainly not do so. [complete article]

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