Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri said that President Musharraf
promised visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice 10,000 more troops on
its border with Afghanistan. Pakistan has been heavily criticized world over
for lack of progress on the war on terror.
Kasuri says that this promised deployment proves that his country is helping
militants as alleged by Kabul. He said his Government wants to build energy
pipelines and trade corridors through Afghanistan and did not have any motive
to keep the conflict going.
Rice acknowledged that this "is a very difficult time for both Afghanistan and
Pakistan" facing attacks by the Al-Qaeda and a resurgent Taliban and expressed
confidence that the two countries would work together to beat them. She
stressed that “The role of the United States in all of this is to keep pressing
everyone ahead to deal with the threat.”
Rice praised Musharraf's doctrine of “enlightened moderation” as “a good
start” because “one thing is very certain: an extreme Pakistan is not likely to
support democratic processes. So let's be very clear about that.” This doctrine
is to preserve the nation’s Islamic character in a democracy sort of how
Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk transformed Turkey. The major problem with
this assumption is that while Atatürk was popular in Turkey,
Musharraf is not. While Atatürk encouraged democracy,
Musharraf does not. Major politicians are either exiled by the state or in
self-exile because of fear that they will be persecuted at home.
The Muttahida Majilis-e-Amal (MMA), an alliance of six Islamic political
parties opposed the decision to deploy 10,000 more troops in the tribal belt
bordering Afghanistan. The MMA secretary general Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman wants
the 80,000 deployed troops withdrawn from the region and the new deployment
stopped as “it will affect the peace process in the tribal region.” The MMA is
a major supporter of the Taliban.
The only way forward for Pakistan is to foster political plurality and free
speech. Islam is not a religion that preaches violence but the Whhabbi Sunni
version of it does.