Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Center for American Progress addresses 'turmoil in Pakstan'

The Center for American Progress held a presentation November 30 on the “Turmoil in Pakistan: Implications for U.S. Security.” Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, mediated, and panelists included Senator Tom Daschle, a distinguished senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; Robert Hathaway, the director for the Asia Division at the Woodrow Wilson Center; and Robert Grenier, the managing director at Kroll, Inc. and former CIA chief of station in Islamabad.

Given the current situation in Pakistan, Hathaway said there is no going back to where the United States or Pakistan was at the beginning of the year. Daschle, who visited Pakistan in October before the State of Emergency declaration was made, said that when he was there was “more of a pervasive sense of fear than at any other time,” noting specifically the treatment of the press and the judiciary, as well as the level of activity of intelligence agents at the local level. Circumstances in the country deteriorated across the board between May and October, he explained, adding that extremist elements were taking over, and women’s ability to move freely and participate politically had declined. The situation in Pakistan since then, Daschle said, has become much worse.

The panel focused a great deal on the dismissal of the Supreme Court and the restoration of the judiciary. Daschle described the judiciary as being a political and legal force that provided a counterbalance to Musharraf. According to Hathaway, the U.S. should not call for the restoration of the judges because it will not happen, rather, he said, Washington should call for the formation of a new independent judiciary. Disagreeing with solutions posed by some of the other panelists, Grenier recommended restoring the judiciary in stages, saying that a demand for a complete restoration all at once is unrealistic. The improvement of democracy in Pakistan, he said, is a generational process.

The U.S.’s relationship with Pakistan was discussed in detail, with Grenier saying it is important for the U.S. to be seen as a partner to the people of the country, as well as the military. The panelists agreed that aid should not be suspended, but they added that it should not be unconditional either. Hathaway explained that the U.S. needs to send a message to the people of Pakistan that they can count on the United States. In order to do this, he recommended that the U.S. not support individuals, but a process. As Daschle said: “My real concern is the degree to which the United States is linked to Musharraf.”

The alliance between Pakistan and the United States is largely based on counterterrorism. According to Grenier, however: “To look at counterterrorism in a narrow way in Pakistan is a big mistake.” While senior al-Qaeda cadres have been removed from urban areas in the country, he explained, the tribal areas of Pakistan are much more problematic, with considerable military losses.

According to Daschle, while U.S. involvement in Pakistan has implications, non-involvement does as well. Hathaway expanded on this statement, saying “inaction is not an option” when it comes to Pakistan. He made the recommendation, however, for the U.S. to remain modest in how much of an effect they can have on Pakistan’s politics, due to a lack of leverage on the U.S. side. As Hathaway states, “I doubt there is a ‘made in America’ solution for Pakistan.”

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home