Monday, April 23, 2007

Stratfor : Expect Violence in Islamabad Today

Strategic Forecasting Inc., more commonly known as Stratfor, a private intelligence agency (once referred to as "The Shadow CIA") has made the following forecast:

- "Pakistani opposition forces prepared for a large demonstration outside the Supreme Court in Islamabad on April 24 to protest the suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and his aides have made plans to instigate clashes between the opposition and government supporters to justify a police crackdown in the Pakistani capital."

- "To counter the opposition's April 24 demonstrations, the Pakistani government has organized a 2,000-strong pro-government procession from Punjab to Islamabad, led by supporters of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League. Two notable figures that helped plan this march were Punjabi Law Minister Muhammad Basharat Raja and Salman Shah, financial adviser to Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz."

- "The pro-government march planners also have arranged for several delinquents, party strongmen and government agents to take part and set off a confrontation between the chief justice supporters and the pro-government demonstrators. The anticipated clashes are intended to justify a government crackdown against the opposition protesters and demonstrate how the government is going on the offensive. Musharraf hopes to kill two birds with one stone by using this police crackdown to send a message to the Red Mosque mullahs, who have taken advantage of the Chaudhry debacle to advance their own aggressive Talibanization campaign."

- "In line with this plan, Musharraf is temporarily escaping the heat from the Chaudhry protests by going on a tour to Poland, Spain, Bosnia and Turkey to enhance Pakistan's trade ties. By leaving the country during a political imbroglio, Musharraf is indicating that he has things under control and his government is still in the driver's seat."

- "Musharraf realizes the need to sustain Pakistan's relevance in Washington's eyes and has thus tacitly allowed Islamist militants to use Pakistan as a launchpad for attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, much to the ire of the Afghan government… Musharraf is likely to exhibit a marked change of attitude during the Turkey visit. Already fearing the growing Talibanization in his own country, Musharraf will assure Karzai that Pakistan will do more to rein in the Taliban along the border."

- "Meanwhile, rumors abound that Musharraf has finally cut a deal with his primary political opponent, Benazir Bhutto of the Pakistan People's Party-Parliamentarians (PPP-P). The two are ready to cut a deal, but there is no assurance that either side will uphold its part of the bargain without backstabbing the other."

- "The talk of Musharraf-Bhutto deal-making has also given the Pakistani government enough fodder to keep the Pakistani opposition front divided."

- "More important -- and contrary to public statements -- Bhutto sees Musharraf, who shares with the PPP-P a common secular ideology, as a medium through which her party could stage a political comeback. Should Musharraf lose his power, all bets are off. This is why, unlike Sharif, Bhutto does not favor using the Chaudhry crisis to oust Musharraf. She wants to use the crisis to pressure Musharraf into negotiating with her."

- "For any real deal to come from the Bhutto-Musharraf talks, the Pakistani president needs to devise some way to ensure he remains president without making the PPP-P look like it has sold out."

- "One thing for certain is that the general has not run out of options, and officials in Washington are just as eager to see how Musharraf manages to work his way out of this political fracas to ensure U.S. interests in combating al Qaeda and Taliban militants do not get tangled up in Musharraf's mess."


Anonymous said...

You said: "The pro-government march planners also have arranged for several delinquents, party strongmen and government agents to take part and set off a confrontation”.

Translation: The regime is sending hundreds of goondas and street thugs from their Qabza and other gangs in the Punjab to beat up the lawyers.

Can someone please warn the Bar Associations what Musharraf has in store for them (while the General conveniently sits thousands of miles away planning undoubtedly to proclaim his innocence)?

Onlooker said...

I watched the pro-Musharraf demonstrators on Aaj TV which zoomed on them closely. And surprise, surprise, all of them were carrying wooden staves in their hands; some staves had PML(Q) flags at the end, others had a picture of Musharraf stuck on them, but the vast majority were simply plain staves for knocking people’s heads in.

Luckily there was no violence, but the intent on part of the Musharraf muscle was plain to be seen. Most of these fellows were carted in to Islamabad from Gujrat and elsewhere and provided with free board and lodging at official expense at Islamabad.

As for the pro-Judiciary mob, well Islamabad was sealed off again. This time in fact, as Geo News reported, the whole province of Punjab was sealed off from NWFP, with empty transport containers creating a blockade across Attock Bridge from 6am onwards.

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Anonymous said...

Just a tactical suggestion for the pro-CJ Lawyers' asscoiation and opposition parties:

Absolutely no-show in front of the Supreme court in Islamabad. Then cry wolf about supressing their right of protest and free speech. It looks like that the " private intelligence" report from the shadow CIA and GEO report have enough corroborating "facts" in them. Also, this will surprise/disappoint the rogue elements sent by the govt. But more importantly, it will deprive the govt to take advantage of the situation to send a message.

Anonymous said...

I hear the army boots clomping down constitution drive in islamabad - is that martial law i hear.......

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