The discovery, last week, of rockets supposedly targeting Army House, the Presidency and the ISI Headquarters have caused much private debate.
Discussing it with a senior journalist or two, your Blogger noticed a strong vein of cynicism among them. Apparently the timing of this multiple attack so soon after Musharraf’s US visit, during which there was much self-propagating hype about him being heroically ‘in the line of fire’ from international terrorists, was too much of a coincidence for some to swallow.
And so it may possibly be as Elvis Presley once immortally crooned:
Well it's One for the Money, Two for the Show, Three to get Ready, Now Go, Man, Go!
Here is a piece by Amir Mir which highlights this particular point of view:
Rocket attempts on Musharraf’s life stage-managed?
LAHORE: The sudden rash of attempts on President General Pervez Musharraf’s life since his return from the US has become a subject of intense speculation, with many detractors saying that recovery of live rocket launchers from three sensitive spots in Rawalpindi and Islamabad were stage-managed by the agencies.
Musharraf claimed on Wednesday at a gathering of journalists in Islamabad that the recovery of rocket launchers outside the Army House, the Presidency and the Inter Services Intelligence Headquarters was a crude attempt to assassinate him.
“The perpetrators were religious extremists, perhaps linked to a group having contacts with Al-Qaeda, but they were not fully trained in carrying out such a task,” said Musharraf, while adding that the devices were so crude that they were bound to fail.
The recovery of rockets connected to mobile phones and fitted with launchers created panic across Islamabad, giving credence to Musharraf’s recent claim that the threat to his life from Al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists is far from over.
However, his critics smell a mischief saying every time there is an assassination attempt, the General missed the bullet or bomb by inches or minutes. They say the recovery of rockets was a crude attempt on his part to address increasing US concerns about the seriousness of his efforts in the war against terror, and to win back the American confidence.
Says Jahangir Badar, the secretary general of the Bhutto-led Pakistan Peoples Party, “By stage-managing recovery of live rockets from the federal capital, Musharraf actually wanted to rectify the mess created by his recent admission in Washington that he was not a willing US ally but was forced to join hands with the Bush administration post the 9/11 terror attacks. He was threatened that Pakistan could be bombed back to the Stone Age unless it cooperated with the US against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.”
Similar views were expressed by Zafar Iqbal Jhagra, a former federal minister and the central secretary general of the Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League.
“The recovery of live rockets from close to the ISI building was meant to convey a message to the West that on contrary to their oft-repeated allegations that the Pakistani ISI was aiding and abetting the Taliban and assisting the jehadi mafia, it was actually under threat from the same elements.”
However, Jhagra pointed out that Musharraf has elaborated on how he had first weighed the option of fighting the US before finally taking a foreign policy U-turn and dumping support for Taliban. “I war-gamed the US as an adversary to assess whether Pakistan could withstand the onslaught. The answer was no,” he quoted Musharraf from his book.