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KASHMIR

6/24/03 <link>
Geov Parrish aptly summarizes not just the hypocrisy on Iraq vs. Pakistan, but the outrage of Bush's continuing support of Musharraf (via Bushwatch)
Below, we feature major portions of his article.

The honored guest
Terrorism-sponsoring, nuclear weapons-equipped dictator visits the White House today
The dictator rose to power by launching a bloody military coup against a democratically elected government. Political prisoners, torture, and repression followed.

Three years later, after changing his title from "General" to "President" because it sounded better, this dictator was "elected" in an election boycotted by opposition groups and most voters, and considered by the rest of the world to be a complete farce.
His country is now considered one of the world's leading havens for Muslim fundamentalist terror groups; if Osama bin Laden is alive, it's thought likely he is here. Our dictator's intelligence agency trains and arms terror groups sympathetic to bin Laden, and the country's ongoing support of such groups in a campaign against its largest neighbor -- a secular democracy -- nearly led to full-blown war last year.
In that confrontation, this dictator threatened to use nuclear weapons. He has them. North Korea has gotten its nuclear weapons materials from this country, which is now believed to be only months away from developing the capacity to launch missiles with nuclear warheads.
The man is "President" Pervez Musharraf; his country, Pakistan. And today, Musharraf will probably ask for still more American weaponry while visiting the White House for an amiable chat with Pres. George W. Bush.
Publicly, Bush is likely to praise the Pakistani strongman for his assistance in America's "War on Terror," particularly its ongoing war in neighboring Afghanistan. Privately, Bush is likely to press for more such cooperation, and for pledges to cut off the North Korean nuclear connection (which Musharraf denies exists).
But there will be no saber-rattling, no thunderous condemnations of an evil dictator who poses a menace to democracy. Quite the contrary; since 9-11, America has become a much closer ally to Pakistan, dropping the sanctions that were imposed after Pakistan conducted public tests of its nukes in 1998, so that it could sell Pakistan its weaponry and use the country in its Afghan invasion. America's deepening friendship, and Musharraf's accompanying betrayal of the Taliban (who Pakistan helped bring to power), have enraged Pakistan's fundamentalists -- who maintain significant power, particularly within the country's military and intelligence services.
But cozying up to America and its money has also strengthened Musharraf's hand. It has enabled him to conduct a blatantly rigged election in May 2002 with a minimum of outcry -- i.e., none -- from Washington. That election came on the heels of a series of terror attacks in disputed Kashmir province -- and, in Dec. 2001, on India's parliament building in New Delhi -- that by June brought the two countries to what Washington and London intelligence agencies described at the time as a threat of nuclear war at least as grave as the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Still, somehow, miraculously, Pakistan remains in Washington's good graces. Musharraf qualifies on virtually every one of the counts used by George W. Bush and his administration to justify deposing Saddam Hussein: the nuclear- equipped, terrorism-sponsoring dictator who represses his own people, threatens neighboring countries, and exports nuclear technology to America's enemies. When Bush wags his finger, or poses for photo-ops on aircraft carriers, so as to posture about such menaces, Musharraf is the dictator that Muslims around the world are most likely to point to as an example of America's double standard. The difference, they say, is that Saddam had oil. And didn't have nukes.
At home, Musharraf plays a tricky balancing act. He cannot rule without the support of his military and the ISI -- the intelligence agency laced with the people who helped launch and continued to support the Taliban. Kashmir has served as a front to which he can redirect religious (as well as nationalist) rage.
Otherwise, despite (and because of) his severe political repression, the fundamentalists threaten to turn on Musharraf himself. Musharraf is a dictator; political opposition, whether in writing or speech, is kept on a short leash, and Pakistan's notoriously brutal prisons have an ample supply of anti-Musharraf political prisoners. The famed Islamic training schools that produced a generation of Islamic radicals have been targeted at times by Musharraf's forces not just because of American pressure, but because he wants fundamentalist clerics to need to rely on his good will. India pushed its dispute with Pakistan to the boiling point last year in part because with Pakistan's new missile capacity, India sensed a window of opportunity closing. Once Pakistan is able to nuke any of India's cities, India loses significant leverage in its ability to stop Pakistani-sponsored terror. When last June's nuclear crisis de-escalated, it was in part because Musharraf himself ordered Kashmir-based Islamic terror groups to stand down from their cross-border incursions. There is little doubt his government continues to sponsor such groups; one of his protections against America's wrath is its fear that if he should be deposed, it would be the fundamentalists who would then control Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and a functional delivery system, one that can reach Afghanistan and Iraq as easily as India.
That, Washington argues, would be even worse, so Musharraf must be supported. But in Saddam's case, Washington did not simply wring its hands in public and proclaim, with alleged sorrow, a policy of lesser evilism and what used to be called "constructive engagement." It spent years isolating Iraq -- with sanctions far more severe than the ones imposed on Pakistan in 1998 -- and then, finally, invaded....
The War On Terror wasn't supposed to be more of the same. Born of 9-11, it was supposed to be about making the protection of Americans from terror groups a priority so urgent that money was no object. So why, today, is George Bush playing host to a man who sponsors terror? Why spend a small fortune and incur international wrath to go chasing after a dictator whose weapons and Al-Qaeda links didn't exist, and at the same time cozy up to a dictator whose nuclear weapons and Al-Qaeda links are common knowledge?...

2/8/03 <link>
Pakistan's support for terrorists and Al Qaeda resumes
Some notes from the Washington Post report (bold is our emphasis):
"...
A year after President Pervez Musharraf announced a ban on Muslim extremist groups, a move hailed in Washington as a turning point for Pakistan, several of the organizations have reconstituted under different names and are once again raising money and proselytizing for jihad against India and the West, according to Pakistani officials and members of the groups. Over the past few months, leaders of four groups banned by Musharraf have been released from house arrest or jail. One of them, Hafiz Sayeed of Lashkar-i-Taiba, has been traveling around the country to meet with supporters and whip up enthusiasm for renewed attacks on Indian forces in Kashmir, according to a top aide. Another, Azam Tariq of Sipah-i-Sahaba, serves in parliament. Pakistani authorities have released almost all of the hundreds of militants detained after Musharraf pledged on Jan. 12, 2002, to dismantle extremist groups that he said were "bringing a bad name to our faith," according to Pakistani officials and Western diplomats. His landmark speech came as Pakistani and Indian military forces were massing along their common border, one month after an attack on India's Parliament complex by guerrillas that India alleged were supported by Pakistan. Since Musharraf's address, however, no effort has been made to disarm the groups, Pakistani officials acknowledge, and donation boxes for the supposedly outlawed organizations have reappeared in stores, mosques and other public places. At the same time, Pakistani officials deny that Musharraf has reneged on his commitment to curb extremist groups, noting that scores of al Qaeda operatives have been rounded up in Pakistan in recent months, frequently in cooperation with the FBI. They say the government had no choice but to release Pakistani militant leaders and their followers because courts in many cases found insufficient evidence to continue holding them...
The reemergence of "jihadi groups," several of which have been linked to the Taliban and al Qaeda, has caused deep concern among Western diplomats. They say it holds the potential for renewed confrontation between Pakistan and India, both of which possess nuclear arms and nearly went to war last spring, and calls into question the depth of Musharraf's commitment to the U.S.-led war on terrorism. In that regard, the groups' reappearance is further evidence of the shift that has occurred in the country since hard-line religious parties opposed to Pakistan's cooperation with the United States staged an unexpectedly strong showing in national and provincial elections last fall...Last month, American frustration with Musharraf flared into the open when the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Nancy Powell, during a speech to businessmen in Karachi, called on the government to fulfill its pledges to "end the use of Pakistan as a platform for terrorism." Although U.S. officials subsequently played down its significance, the remark caused an uproar in Pakistan, whose government is unaccustomed to such blunt talk from Washington's envoy...From all indications, however, the government still maintains a lenient attitude toward groups focused on the Kashmir conflict, such as Lashkar-i-Taiba and Jaish-i-Muhammad. Trained and supplied by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, these organizations have long been regarded as an instrument of state policy...Indian officials regularly argue to their U.S. counterparts that Pakistan is on the wrong side of that war...Equally alarming to the West and to moderate Pakistanis, some Lashkar-i-Taiba fighters trained in Afghanistan during the Taliban era, and their leader, Sayeed, have professed admiration for Osama bin Laden....The government has also allowed considerable latitude for militant leaders who were supposed to have been reined in. Even during their detention, for example, Sayeed and two other militant leaders -- Masood Azhar of Jaish-i-Muhammad and Fazlul Rahman Khalil of Harkat ul-Mujaheddin -- stayed in ISI safe houses, where they were permitted visitors and the use of cell phones, according to statements filed by their relatives in court proceedings related to their cases...
In the two months since he was released, Sayeed, the Lashkar-i-Taiba founder, has addressed about 100 gatherings around the country to "educate people about the virtues of jihad," according to an aide who spoke on condition of anonymity..."

11/14/02 <link>
India has some criticism of the U.S. and U.K. for not doing enough against Pakistan
Washington Times report highlights struggle by Indians to make the West acknowledge Pakistan's long support for terrorism. It is indeed disturbing that with so much evidence being public now about Pakistan being essentially a terrorist state, that the status quo continues. On the one hand, there are arguments that unseating Musharraf by attacking Pakistan would likely make the Government unstable to takeover by terrorist-friendly fundamentalists within Pakistan. This situation may get more adverse if such fundamentalists took over Pakistan's nuclear infrastructure. At the same time, is it really that hard to find a measured way to invade Pakistan (as a response to 9/11 and for their continuing to be a safe haven for Al Qaeda - see Time, New York Times) and immediately take over their nuclear infrastructure?  

10/20/02 <link>
A Primer on Kashmir
We were referred to the website of Akhila Raman, who maintains a website devoted to the Kashmir issue and attempts to provide an objective review of the relevant history and truth relating to Kashmir. Some of the information on her website that we found interesting, included, (a) a fairly detailed chronology of the history of the conflicts in Kashmir, and (b) a brief analysis of the recent poll in Kashmir and the preferences of the population in different portions of Kashmir, in terms of whether they are pro-Pakistan, pro-India or pro-independence.