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Ear to the Ground

Bhutto’s Husband Wins Pakistan Presidency

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Posted on Sep 6, 2008
Zardari
AP photo / Shakil Adil

The victor: Asif Ali Zardari, husband of Pakistan’s slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, at a January news conference in Karachi, Pakistan.

Pakistan will have a new president, Asif Ali Zardari. The widower of slain Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto has successfully continued along his wife’s path, drawing upon the support of her allies to emerge the victor by a wide margin in the election held to replace Pervez Musharraf, who stepped down as president in mid-August.

Although the winning party, the Pakistan People’s Party, declared the outcome “a victory for democracy,” the election wasn’t free of strife; as the BBC reports, “a bomb killed at least 30 people near Peshawar city” during the voting.


BBC:

Many in Pakistan fear the country is facing a return to an old-style politics of confrontation at a time when urgent action is needed to improve the economy and deal with a raging Islamist insurgency.

[...] Mr Zardari is seen as pro-Western and supportive of Washington’s self-declared war on terror. He will have to juggle the demands of the United States, Pakistan’s powerful army, and strong anti-American sentiment in the country.

Our correspondent says Mr Musharraf tried to do that and failed. She adds that Pakistanis hope that Asif Zardari will have more success, but they see little in his past to encourage them.

The fortunes of the Bhutto-Zardari family have fluctuated dramatically.

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By Folktruther, September 8, 2008 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

Let me echo Jackpine, Fahrenheit, and thank you for this link. 

The Pakistan military and power system is split between the US and China, so this closure is done informally.  But it is quite important, since the US is now openly justifying killing women and children in villages when they attack them, as it did in Vietnam.

Both Obama-Biden (Obaden) support these attacks into Pakistan.  Biden agreed with McCain when the drones killed 20 villages a few months ago, that this was a good strategy which they supported.  Biden will now play the part of Cheney if the Dem neocons win the election.

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By Fahrenheit 451, September 8, 2008 at 3:10 am Link to this comment

@ jackpine savage;

You’re welcome.  It is a great site. 
Interesting though, still nothing in the MSM about the closure of the border in Pakistan.

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By cyrena, September 7, 2008 at 9:00 pm Link to this comment

By Folktruther, September 7 at 5:37 am


•  “So Obama-Bush are escalating the war to Pakistan to avoid losing it in Afghanistan.”

This is how you continue to miss out on credibility points folktruther. Even if you ever post anything that might have a ring of validity to it, one will simply blow it off because it’s obvious that you’re seeing though a most subjective ideological lens.

You do this with your Obiden name for the Dem ticket, and you do it here now with the Obama-Bush tag, which you apparently think is going to fool somebody. Obama isn’t calling any shots yet folktruther, no matter how you might try to tie him to these failed and disastrous policies of the gangster regime.

He can say what he would have done, and what he wants to do as president. But that’s it. He’s not on the clock yet, and I’m sure Cheney isn’t taking orders from Obama.

Maybe you shouldn’t make your bias so obvious. Nobody pays attention to ideologues, other than to dismiss them out of hand.

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By QuyTran, September 7, 2008 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

Congratulations, Mr. Ten Percent ! The Pakistanese wih be burried in shallow graves under your talent !

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A Khokar's avatar

By A Khokar, September 7, 2008 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

As per parliamentarian democratic way of government of Pakistan, Prime Minister is suppose to be the executive in power, where as President takes a Ceremonial position representing the Federation of Country only.

But this nation only knows how Authoritarian or the dictator as their sole supreme commander may rule them. They have never experienced the democratic way of rules; where the ‘majority has a way and minority is listened to’. After the current election of Asif Ali Zardari as a new President this nation is rightly or wrongly; pinning lots of hope to a person who is suppose to be a neutral body, void of any powers or having a say in the policy making of country. Although presently 17th Amendment of the constitution and the section 58/2B as a gift from Ex-President Pervez Musharraf are still in tact which makes the President a supreme executive in Pakistan and any President with these powers may very conveniently enjoy relishing his powers and sing ‘You are the Wind beneath My wings’, but what happens (as it is widely being debated in Media) when the wind of these two items is taken away from under his wings.

In view of the pinning of hopes by Pakistani people and wheeling dealing being exercised with USA with one single person; Asif Ali Zardari; it looks like that title of the existing powers may change as an eye wash but supreme command power will remain with; President Asif Ali Zardari.

We may also experience some rhetoric aired from Muslim League Nawaz camps (would be a opposition party in Parliament) but history tells us that this usual rhetoric is just to raise the flow of adrenalin down the blood vessels and spine but Punjab the most populace province is only good in submitting to the will of their supreme commander. Both the Muslim Leagues; ‘N’ as well ‘Q’of Punjab; they were successfully bulldozed to the ditch of losers by Zardai. They are the excellent…King Makers.

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By Folktruther, September 7, 2008 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

Self-determination IS all its cracked up to be, BigE, but is seldom allowed.  The Pakistani people did not put this certified thief in power, he was “elected” by a few legislatures. of about 450 votes.  Hell, you can get that many votes for a few million dollars.

The Pakistani people know quite well that the “election” is fixed, and are widely disinterested in it.

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By WARIS SHERE, September 7, 2008 at 7:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Asif Ali Zardari, 53, was thrust into centre stage and takes power as a President of his nation at a time of extreme instability,  and with a crumbling economy. His wife Benazir Bhutto’s assassination on Dec. 27 brought a wave of sympathy that helped propel Peoples Party to victory in February elections. Zardari remains one of Pakistan’s most controversial politicians. ‘The problem with Zardari is not that he is an unknown quantity, it is that he is a known quantity,’ said Dr Farzana Shaikh, of London’s Chatham House think-tank. Zardari has a complicated relationship with the Pakistani public. He spent 11 years in jail and has been hounded by corruption allegations throughout his career, but according to several sources, he has no outstanding convictions. According to the New York Times, The White House issued a supportive statement stating, “President Bush looks forward to working with him, Prime Minister Gilani and the government of Pakistan on issues important to both countries, including counterterrorism and making sure Pakistan has a stable and secure economy.” He will take office at a crucial time, as anger with the US is boiling after a bloody incursion by US ground troops into a remote village inside Pakistan’s terriotry. Zardari is seen as pro-Western and supportive of Washington’s self-declared war on terror. Zardari is not expected to change Pakistan’s commitment as an ally in the U.S. war on terrorism. At home the nwly elected President faces severe economic problems and a rampant Islamist insurgency that are threatening Pakistan’s stability.  According to Jason Burke, of the Observer , Zardari will inherit the wide-ranging powers assumed by former army general Musharraf, who resigned when threatened with impeachment. Zardari will thus be able to dismiss parliament and appoint the chief of Pakistan’s armed forces, which traditionally see themselves as the guarantors of the nuclear-armed nation’s security and stability. Some regard a confrontation as likely. The observer further concludes , “Pressure has been increasing on Pakistan in recent months to crack down on Taliban militants based in the west of the country who cross the porous border to fight in Afghanistan against Nato troops. Many believe that elements within the Pakistani security establishment - especially the powerful military intelligence services - are supporting factions within the Taliban”.

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By jackpine savage, September 7, 2008 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

Fahrenheit 451,

Thanks for the link as i had not heard that important tidbit yet.  And furthermore, thank you as that is a site worthy of bookmarking.

Cyrena,

Love the War OF Terror line.  And you are quite right.  We should also keep in mind that beyond the instability of Pakistan in general and its nuclear arsenal, there is still the matters of Kashmir and Afghanistan.  The Indians have been very active in Afghanistan of late.  How will the new government deal with that, in so much as Afghanistan is considered (by the Army) to represent Pakistan’s strategic depth?

But if nothing else, there is a civilian in charge of Pakistan for the moment…though i’m sure that the ISI and the Army are ready to step in should Zardari not make it cleanly through the minefield that is Pakistani politics at the moment.

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By Big B, September 7, 2008 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

The people of pakistan have once again proven that self-determination is not all that it’s cracked up to be. After years of derision and corruption they finally removed the despot and his military junta from power.
So now what to do?
They immedietly placed an old rich aristocrat in charge. A man who has had his fingers in every dirty pie in Pakistan in the last 20 years. A man whose only thread with the downtrodden people of pakistan is Oxygen. A man who is pro-west, at a time when the Pakistanis need to be rejecting the pro-war policies of the west and look inward to fix their own problems.
Why did they make this mistake?
Once again, it comes down to education. A country of dim people will tend to vote for the man holding something shiney.
Sound familier?

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By Folktruther, September 7, 2008 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

In a book of his recent essays, AMERICA, WAR, AND GLOBAL SUPREMACY, the noted historian Eric Hobsbawm states:

    “Frankly, I can’t make sense of wht has happened in the US since 9/11 that enabled a group of political crazies to realize long-held plans for an unaccompanied solo performance of world supremacy.”

Nowhere is this senselessness more evident than in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Orignially the US wanted to lay a pipline from the “Stans” to the Arabian sea to transport their gas and oil, but that plan is long dead.  China and Russia have rounded up the Stans in the Changhai Cooperation Oraganization and other organs to control Pipelineistan. 

There is now no geostrategic reason whatever for the US and Nato to be in Afghanistan.  Except to avoid losing a war that is already lost. 

The Soviets could not win a long war in Afghanistan with many more troops, and there is no way a half hearted coalition which will not fight extensively on the ground can dominate that country, still less Pakistan.  So Obama-Bush are escalating the war to Pakistan to avoid losing it in Afghanistan.

I know this sounds loony but American leaders ARE loony in a geo-strategic sense.  As Hobsbawn points out, megalomania is very common in empires. America is being ruled by homicidal megalomaniacs that must escalate a senseless war to avoid losing it and thus futher destroying their legitimacy. This makes as much geo-strategic sense, not only for the US but for Israel, as for Georgia declaring war on Russia, which its president, Loonyashvili, did for half an hour recently.

Pakistan is becoming increasingly more closely allied to China, which is on their border.  China has built a long highway across the northern mountains to a deep water port and large industrial town they are constructing at Gwardar, to process Persian Gulf oil.
t

The Pakistani population prefer the Chinese to the American polity, which they hate for the coorupt and brutal regimes America haws supported to rule them, and for the new American increased bombing of Pakistani villages, killing women and children.

The US is selling weapons to both Pakistan and India to set them against each other, as it did against Iraq and Iran in their horrible war, as it is doing to the Sunni’s and Shiites in Iraq, under the tattered guise of preventing ethnic cleansing.

There is no way for the US to win this war with Afhanistan-Pakistan, which contain the Pushtan population that supports the Taliban.  It can only delay its losing it by bloodily bombing villages. 
And both Obaden and Bush identify with this geo-strategy.  Which is devastating, at enormous expense, the people in the region.  Only in America, where the population has no control over the power system under Freedom and Democracy, could such a pointless, corrupt and brutal geo-strategy be implemented.

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By Fahrenheit 451, September 7, 2008 at 1:41 am Link to this comment

You might want to check this article. 

Daily Jang, Pakistan:
Civilian Deaths Justify Pakistan’s Cutoff of NATO Supply Line

Here’s the link;

http://worldmeets.us/thedailyjang000006.shtml

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By cyrena, September 6, 2008 at 11:25 pm Link to this comment

It WILL be interesting to watch this Jackpine; how US/Pakistani relations may or may not change. I’m very interested myself.

I thought the links from the piece were helpful..especially the “Key Facts on Pakistan” in the special reports section. (the BBC runs a lot of stuff like that…sort of their version of the “Geopolitics for Dummies Series). So, while it may not serve as an accredited course somewhere, it does provide some useful information on the quick.

In fact, that’s the problem with the ignorant arrogance of Americans in having always had US hegemony written into the national creed. (though I can’t really point to exactly where). It means we never have a clue of ANYTHING about any given country before we just start messin’ with ‘em, or doing business with them. At least the American people generally don’t. Needless to say, the thugs in power know as much as they want to. $22 billion from Dick Bush to Musharraf since October, 2001, for “services rendered” in the so-called ‘war on terror’. Except of course…they didn’t do anything but allow it to exacerbate. There is far more so-called ‘extremist’ activity and strife NOW than there was before the thugs started their war OF terror.

Still, it makes sense to know a little bit about the place and what’s going on there, before we armchair analyze. I think lots of folks have overlooked, (if they ever even had reason to consider it) that Pakistan has FULL nuclear weapons capacity, and they have been a mostly unstable state (politically speaking) for at least 3 decades or so. The last nine of them under a military dictatorship.

And it is THAT regime, that has been so complimentary to the Thug regime here!!

Anyway, yes..it will be interesting.

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By jackpine savage, September 6, 2008 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment

But he probably will not reinstate the judges (at least not all of them), as some of them are still a little miffed over the corruption charges from the last time he reached the pinnacle of Pakistani power.

It will be interesting to watch how US/Pakistani relations may (or may not) change.

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