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Guest Voice

Déjà Vu: Musharraf and the Shah

By Gary Sick

Last Sunday’s New York Times analysis, “In Pakistan Quandary, U.S. Reviews Stance,”
fits so closely with a number of conversations that I have had over the past few weeks that it inspires a kind of déjà vu. It takes me back to the time when the Iranian revolution was brewing, when I was the desk officer for Iran on the National Security Council.

The ultimate reason for the U.S. policy failure at the time of the Iranian revolution was the fact that the U.S. had placed enormous trust and responsibility on the person of the shah of Iran. He -- and not the country or people of Iran -- was seen as the lynchpin of U.S. strategy in the Persian Gulf. Everything relied on him. There was no Plan B.

As a consequence, the U.S. strategy, endlessly mulled over, was that we had no choice except to support the shah; and this was fortified by the belief (or wishful thinking) that the shah would pull himself together and deal with the growing crisis before it was too late. By the time it became inescapably obvious that that was not going to happen, the situation was too far gone for anything to stop it.

This is a gross simplification, of course. (For more nuanced detail, see my 1985 account of the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis, “All Fall Down.”) But in retrospect, this was the essence of the problem. We had placed all of our eggs in the shah's basket; we had no visible alternative. So policy always tended to settle on More of the Same, fear of Rocking the Boat in a way that would undercut the shah, combined with much Wringing of Hands and Wishful Thinking.

Those policies were so unsuccessful that they gave rise to endless conspiracy theories among the Iranian elite (many of whom fled the country in hopes that someone else would defend their interests) that the Carter administration was in fact determined to replace the shah with Khomeini. Absurd as that appeared to those of us on the inside, it was an all too human attempt to square what they regarded as an omnipotent United States with a policy of neglect and error.

All of this comes to mind as I watch the situation in Pakistan. I am no expert on that country, but I see the U.S. locked in much the same kind of policy vise that bedeviled the U.S. in Iran. We have bet the farm on one man - in this case Pervez Musharraf -- and we have no fall back position, no alternative strategy in the event that does not work.

Pakistan is far more dangerous than Iran was. If it should be taken over by Sunni radicals of a radical Islamist Talibanesque persuasion, the dangers are not that hard to imagine, even for a non-specialist. Pakistan is a nuclear state. I suppose that a radical Sunni takeover would be seen as an imminent threat by nuclear India; I know it would be seen that way in Iran, and Iran might well be persuaded to abandon its present slow-motion nuclear development, drop out of the NPT if necessary, and go for a bomb in the shortest time possible. That would set off other ripples of proliferation and possibly military reaction.

Pakistan is already a training center for international terrorism. That would only increase. Certainly a radical Islamist Pakistan would give Al-Qaeda and the Taliban an enormous boost in their operations in Afghanistan and beyond. Pakistan would constitute the kind of imminent terrorist/nuclear threat that we falsely ascribed to Saddam Hussein.

One of the obstacles to confronting the Iranian revolution at an early stage -- regardless of whether or not that would have had any significant effect -- was that no one had any good ideas to offer about what might be done. I certainly have no magic plan to offer about Pakistan.

Still, I think that avoiding the issue or sweeping it under the rug in hopes that it will get better on its own, is worse even than admitting that we have no solution to a problem that is confronted honestly.

The worst does not always happen, but in this region we do not have to look very far to find cases where it has. The parallels worry me.


Gary Sick is a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University and Executive Director of the Gulf/2000 Project.

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Comments (64)

xyz...:

first of all,mr. gary,no idea who gave USA the right to control the world?i must thank courageuse anonymous for bringing up this point:no one ridiculed or forced india to think about not staying as a single nation?why?why aren't ever india's political problems bought up on international media?why should iran give up its nuclear power?why doesnt USA lead us in this action?it was all their idea!i dont see usa doing anything similar as it suggests others?(precisely muslim nations)i really need an answer with a solid reason.
and i really want to ask SAGE,how dare this person say anything against Islam?"Islam has failed to be a glue throughout the muslim world because it does not address the needs of modern life."excuse me?how much do you know about Islam sage?what do you know about Islam?islam did not fail and never will..muslim world's representatives failed the muslim world..true muslims..and as for SAGEs knowledge, islam and the HOLY QURAN very well cater the needs of modern life...if representatives of the muslim world are not aware of those,well..that's a different thing..but you have no right to raise a finger on islam,nonetheless commenting on it failing..
this is totally my opinion and hope no one finds anything offensive contained in my comment,except that it says the truth,according to all the knowledge i have of what's going on.

Tahir Nisar:

Well!!! About the current situation in Pakistan, I believe it cant be better than wut it is rite now. cuz none of these democratic leaders really think in pakistan`s favor. dunno if m rite or not but its just the way i understand after loookin at their past rygime. Well Done Musharraf

Zaina:

well 2 be honest im only 14!!! im nt into politics and all but i do care about my country thts pakistan and to some extent i think what ever musharaf does is rite!!! its jus tht all thses religious people come and screw it all up just when its about to get all good! so yh hands up for musharaf!!!

Zaina:

well 2 be honest im only 14!!! im nt into politics and all but i do care about my country thts pakistan and to some extent i think what ever musharaf does is rite!!! its jus tht all thses religious people come and screw it all up just when its about to get all good! so yh hands up for musharaf!!!

Syed Muhammad Shahid. KARACHI.:


My name is Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto. I left your
country eight nine years ago. The U.S. has again
sent me back to rule over you. In my last regime Icould not do more, just only some billion US dollarsis into my foreign account, and have fixed that for mypoor children. At that time National Wealth was not enough as now-a-days, 16 billon US dollars. I can’t wait any more. I have promised Mr. Bush to catch the Osama, and finish the all Muslims, roll back the Pakistan’s Nuclear program. O my Innocent, Poor,and Fool country man, Please vote for me, and allow me to make another Diamonds Necklace, because I love it. And I order you to elect Nawaz after me because he is also a poor man with the just some billion US Dollars in the same country, where I keep. Thank You “ Yours Sister, Benazir.”

Jay:

Maria, you're full of nonsense. Whatever caveats Nehru had against the Muslim League was more over its sectarian nature, whereas the Congress was a multi-ethnic non-religious party. So please don't peddle nonsense that Nehru wanted partition. You'll notice that anyplace Muslims live in large numbers with non-Muslims, they tend to want separation and independence. That's not all because of Nehru.

The comparisons between Indian cohesion and Pakistani cohesion are apples and oranges as well. At least India doesn't achieve cohesion by cultivating fanaticism that exports militancy and terror to the world. Sorry, but that alone strikes down the parallels.

KAHOOR KHAN:

The road from Karachi to Gowadar is built to the military purposes and it does not have any benefit to the people of Balochistan.The Goadar port is being built for the benefit of Punjabis of Islamabad and Lahore and you can not deny that Gowader is subjected under the New Coastal authority in Islamabad instead of provincial capital of Balochistan in Quetta,but it isthe real fact that we neither allow the Central Asian minera resources through this Port nor we allow the Iranian gas pipeline and the flow of the gas over the land of Balochistan. We do not give a damn who takes the reins of this failed state in Islamabad as we have decided to stand with all of our possession behind the Balochistan Liberation Army BLA to drive out the Punjabi inferiors out of our sacred land.

Nazar Awan:

Circumstances under which pervaiz musharaf took over the charge, as Chief executive of Pakistan is very much clear. He was out of Pakistan, the then P.M removed him forcibly but Pakistan Army not accepted the removal of their chief in insulting way. Later on Supreme Court allowed him and public elected representative also showed confidence on him in majority.

About Balouchistan, Gwadar port, coastal highway Karachi to Jiwani, Main Jinnah avenue road, Airport road, Peddi Zar road, Marine drive Road, Balouchistan Broad way Road and Port expressway roads in gwadar have been completed and Gwadar is a part of Balouchistan. Beside this Mirani Dam, Soad kor Dam and many other projects in Kholu, Barkhan and other area of Balouchistan are in progress. Therefore that saying is not correct that a single penny is not spent in Balouchitan.

KAHOOR KHAN:

Mr.Sayed Shahid Muhammed,if the slavery is bravery then Mush is a real brave and a honest man.can you explain at least to the Pakistanis that how Mush has become the president of this country?Was he an elected member of tne state's parliament,if yes, who elected him to be a mp and then a president? you are drumming of prosperity and progress in Pakistan but without any sound as a UN recent report reveals that the per capita of a Pakistani does not exceeds more than two dollers a day and country is under debt of 40 billion dollers to the world money lending institutions for that the Pakistanis are paying 4 to five billion dollers as the annualy installment to the Paris Club and and other lenders.And if you tacle the education,the average of illiteracy in Pakistan is 90% as of the 160 million of the population you can barely find 10 to twelve million of secondry level educated persons.The medical institutions and facilities are standing on zero point and could not be compared to any scope as not a person in this country has a medical file in any health centers and the ministry of the health is a show case and the patients and wounded lots are gathered on the foot paths infront of patched and old decayed hospital buildings.Sayed Muhammed might be unaware or demonstrating that not a pinny has so far been spent on the so-called projects in Balochistan.The Balochis are not cansidered as Pakistanis as Balochista was not a part of Britts Sub-continent and it had been invaded and occupied by Pakistan in 1948,which does not give Pakistanis any justification to call Balochistan a part of Pakistan. I advice my friend Sayed Muhammed not to get upset and shout on American Politics as America is a great and democratic State and it is supplying the Pakistanis with enormous economic and military aids.

Syed Muhammad Shahid. KARACHI.:

PLEASE LET MUSHARRAF TO CONTROL THE SITUATION OWN HIS OWN.

The America, the Supper Power, Supper with Power, or Supper with Wisdom.?
Now-a-days the whole world is witness along with the Americans themselves,
That they have badly failed to recognize America as a “Supper-Man” of the World
Supper-Man, doesn’t mean to ruin every thing with in HIS reach, but to show HIS
Wisdom by handling the situation wisely. There are plenty of examples to prove the
Incapability of the foreign policies of America, it starts from Vietnams and comes
Towards IRAQ and now to Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s a very serious question that
Whether America has succeeded into it or totally FAILED.? They should deeply look
Into it that what was the main reason of their flop to introduce themselves as a
Supper-Man of the world.
Wisdom means to prove as a conqueror, not as a defaulter,
What ever the result has out on the page of the history till now, America should learn
The lesson and rectify their errors by revising its policy according to the
Geographical , economical , and political position of the concern area where It need
To interferes.
First of all the Authority of America shouldn’t even read the articles,
Like Gary Sick, because these people are really sick. They write just because of
To full fill their need of the live, and nothing else, otherwise he shouldn’t
Compare the Duffer Shah of Iran With the Wise Musharraf of Pakistan.
Musharraf has proved his skills in every segment of life, and Americans know it
Better than any others. Musharraf is a Honest, Brave, Wise, and the Most popular
Personality, in Pakistan. Elected President by the Graduate Elected Parliament of
Pakistan, Provincial and National Both. Forget about Shah, look now what the
America is doing again the NONSCENSE by putting in Benazir Bhutto forcibly,
Why.? If the Americans are not aware by the political situations of Pakistan, they
Should rely one hundred percent in Musharraf, because He has a God Gifted and
The Dynamic qualities to over come any situations specially with in the Pakistan.

Please have a impartial look at musharraf’s policies in the last seven
Years, he introduced. A strong National reserve by more than US$16 Billions,
Power sharing by the common people to introduce the Elected Local Government
To Protect the Women’s right, bills passed by the Parliament according to the will
And wishes of the women of Pakistan. Islamic Fundamentalists elimination as
According to the demand by the majority of this Country. Mass development in
Baluchistan by putting Billions of Dollars. And by giving dozen and dozens license
To the electronic media with the power of their expressions according to their will.
More in depended as compare to even America. And now, if Any Gary Sick of any
Where, compare This Wise, Popular, and Iron Hand man with the Flopped, Weak
And Politically ill, gone Shah of Iran, I am as sure as death that he is a really
“SICK” man who has no any knowledge about this area’s politics.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF ZINDA-ABAD - PAKISTAN-PAYINDA-ABAD.

Syed Muhammad Shahid. KARACHI.:

PLEASE LET MUSHARRAF TO CONTROL THE SITUATION OWN HIS OWN.

The America, the Supper Power, Supper with Power, or Supper with Wisdom.?
Now-a-days the whole world is witness along with the Americans themselves,
That they have badly failed to recognize America as a “Supper-Man” of the World
Supper-Man, doesn’t mean to ruin every thing with in HIS reach, but to show HIS
Wisdom by handling the situation wisely. There are plenty of examples to prove the
Incapability of the foreign policies of America, it starts from Vietnams and comes
Towards IRAQ and now to Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s a very serious question that
Whether America has succeeded into it or totally FAILED.? They should deeply look
Into it that what was the main reason of their flop to introduce themselves as a
Supper-Man of the world.
Wisdom means to prove as a conqueror, not as a defaulter,
What ever the result has out on the page of the history till now, America should learn
The lesson and rectify their errors by revising its policy according to the
Geographical , economical , and political position of the concern area where It need
To interferes.
First of all the Authority of America shouldn’t even read the articles,
Like Gary Sick, because these people are really sick. They write just because of
To full fill their need of the live, and nothing else, otherwise he shouldn’t
Compare the Duffer Shah of Iran With the Wise Musharraf of Pakistan.
Musharraf has proved his skills in every segment of life, and Americans know it
Better than any others. Musharraf is a Honest, Brave, Wise, and the Most popular
Personality, in Pakistan. Elected President by the Graduate Elected Parliament of
Pakistan, Provincial and National Both. Forget about Shah, look now what the
America is doing again the NONSCENSE by putting in Benazir Bhutto forcibly,
Why.? If the Americans are not aware by the political situations of Pakistan, they
Should rely one hundred percent in Musharraf, because He has a God Gifted and
The Dynamic qualities to over come any situations specially with in the Pakistan.

Please have a impartial look at musharraf’s policies in the last seven
Years, he introduced. A strong National reserve by more than US$16 Billions,
Power sharing by the common people to introduce the Elected Local Government
To Protect the Women’s right, bills passed by the Parliament according to the will
And wishes of the women of Pakistan. Islamic Fundamentalists elimination as
According to the demand by the majority of this Country. Mass development in
Baluchistan by putting Billions of Dollars. And by giving dozen and dozens license
To the electronic media with the power of their expressions according to their will.
More in depended as compare to even America. And now, if Any Gary Sick of any
Where, compare This Wise, Popular, and Iron Hand man with the Flopped, Weak
And Politically ill, gone Shah of Iran, I am as sure as death that he is a really
“SICK” man who has no any knowledge about this area’s politics.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF ZINDA-ABAD - PAKISTAN-PAYINDA-ABAD.

Iftikhar Hussain:

In response to the Report writer, on which the whole discussion is based, I would say that I consider Western powers for creating instability in Pakistan. India dont want to see a prosperous Pakistan. They are simply taking the advantage of present situation and trying to make it worse from bad.

One comment was that Islam is not upto the modern standards. I want to ask whihc modern standards, which allows males to marry each other. Dont say that Islam is not upto modern principles of life. We will come out of our current political crisis with flying colors.

KAHOOR KHAN:

There is not any difference between the Shah of Iran and Parviz Musharraf regarding their relation to United States of America.Being very rich the Shah was a rubber stamp at the hands of American state Department and prior of 1979 he had been thinking that the Iranians respect him and will never stand against him, as the American Puppet Musharraf has been thinking that he is the sole powerful authority that nobody can pose any threat to his star decoration, but at the end of the day he is requesting a Lady who has once been labeled as corrupt by him to help him for political survival.This downing of Musharraf's political state reveals that he is using the army against Pakistani citizens to fulfill the american interests in the region as the Shah and his Horrible Savak did to the Iranian to silence their angry voices against the American Plunders in Iran. Musharraf and his team are not loyal to the Americans as they are demonstrating against the terrorism to get the dollers flowing as they will not take serious steps against the terrorism to close the blackmailing door for once and good.

KAHOOR KHAN:

Pakistan is a much dangerous country than Iraq.In Iraq the sectarian issue is threatnig the integrity of this country but in Pakistan, its army with the 100% Punjabi personnel is a source of disintegration of this state.I do not understand the Bush administration's loyalness to Pakistans military setup as everyone in this world is aware that these cowards of Islamabad have not the guts and dignity to defend their own country and get hand cupped in the quantity of 98000,then how they sacrifice them for American cause and what will there be the guaranty that they will not sell the nuclear materials to the other parties as they are very famous for blackmailing, take the evidene of their bargaining with U.S.A. on the terrorist issue and their supplying the Iranians with 260 nuclear technicians to assist the Clerics of Tehran to surface a nuclear device.

Syed Muhammad Shahid.:

Every body has got right to express his own opinion. As Mr. Gary Sick has showed his wishes, to compare Pervez Musharraf with the Late Shah of Iran. Coparison is a good thing, but with the same value. If you compare Daimond with the any ordinary stone, how could one be able to reach the result, because there is no comparison between these two things.

Iranis are one Nation - Pakistanis are not,
due to the ill and
corrupt minded
Ploliticians.

Shah was a Born King. Pervez Musharraf is
As a matter of Accident - a soldier as a
matter of choice.
Shah's enemy was a pious Musharraf's enemy
man "IMAM KHOMINI" - is a corrupt &
opportunists,

Shah was not a Elected Musharraf is a
Man. - Elected man by the
Parliament.


just very few people know in abroad that How much we love Pervez Musharraf. We take Him as our Hero, and no doubt in it that he is a Clean, Brave, and patriot Leader of our Country, who has full support in our all four provinces, by the all sincere people of Pakistan. We have 50 percent women of our population, and the all women are just supporter of Musharraf, just because of his Enlighten Moderation Policy. He has done a lot for this country Pakistan, where as Shah was failed to deliver the Nation as they wanted from him. So Please don't follow Gary's opinion because it is not based on fact. Let him make money by writing for the passing his time and to make fool to the owner of the News Paper. Don't give him value more than that. Thank you. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF ZINDA_ABAD PAKISTAN PAYINDA_ABAD

A.H.Anjum, Faisalabad, Pakistan:

By A.H. Anjum, Faisalabad, Pakistan.


Like Gary SICK, there are a lot of people in the world whose' minds and thoughts are SICK. Vast majority of those exist in Jews and Hindus. They are so biased that they don't want see the Muslims living with peace. During 90s I have seen a CNN prepared documentary "RAW deal" on the international terrorism sponsored by Indian intelligence agency RAW. No country took notice of it and did not force RAW to stop its activities. Result is that it is still promoting and sponsoring terrorism inside and out side of India, especially in Pakistan.

My belief is that every country in the world is sovereign, which must be duly respected. Problems arise when other countries, especially USA hits sovereignty of other countries and tries to force his decisions / unlawful interests.

My question is that why USA put her eggs in other's baskets and wants to see the heads of states in the world as per her wills. Why doesn't she like the people to choose, their rulers according to their choice? (She preaches for democracy but always work hard to topple the governments, elected by the people, e.g. Algiers, Palestine "Hammas", Pakistan etc. etc., now she has allocated budget to destabilize Iran). Why doesn't she let the people of the world live with peace?

I am confident that if USA change her policy and let all countries run their business by themselves, then all problems will be solved.

Mr. Sick has tired to say that USA blundered by supporting Shah of Iran and Mr. Pervez Musharraf. First of all I will make it clear to Mr. Sick that there is no comparison between Shah of Iran and Mr. Pervez Musharraf. Shah was the King of Iran whereas Mr. Musharraf is the president of Pakistan, elected twice by the people of Pakistan / Members of the Parliament, as per constitution of Pakistan. I ask Mr. Sick, "why USA provided her support to Shah of Iran and Mr. Musharraf?The answer is, "to safeguard her interests". USA must understand that no one will safeguard her interests on the cost of one's own country's interests.

Now USA and all Muslim enemies including Europe and India are providing their support to Mrs. Benazir with the expectations that she will work for their interests. Being a Pakistani (having deep look on the psychology of the Pakistanis) I can predict that Benazir will never win the elections. Gathering 100000 to 150000 people from all over the country for reception (@ Rs. 5000/person) does not mean that she is capable of winning the elections. Continuous support from America and West is rapidly reducing Benazir's popularity. Very hardly, she would be able to win 50% of the seats, those were won by her party in last elections.

Why USA want to see people like Tony Blair, Gordon, Man Mohan Singh and Benazir etc. as rulers in other countries. Why not the brave and dignified people like Musharraf, Faisal, Idi Amin, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Ahmade Nezad of Iran, Saddam, president of Venezuela etc.......

Can Mr. Sick answer me that why USA doesn't want any other country to make atomic bomb while she herself has thousands of these bombs? If Mr. Sick answer that other countries are not responsible countries, then my argument is that USA is the only irresponsible country who used the atomic bomb and killed hundreds of thousands innocent people in Japan. Basically USA's such policies have made Americans a frightened nation. Before they attack on a country, they make it sure that it is completely disarmed (like Iraq). They don't have courage to fight with the powerful but with the weak only. USA has history of attacking the unarmed (weak countries like Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan) but results are in front of the world, did USA succeed to win any war?). USA must review her policies making her nation to come out of the sate of fear.

I would like to make it clear to Mr. Sick that no one will work against his country. Either he is Shah of Iran or President / Prime Minister of Pakistan or anybody else. He might give some favor or concessions to USA due to some unavoidable circumstances but ultimately he has to work for his nation.

I advise Mr. Sick and other think tanks of USA, not to waste their energies on analyzing the matters of other countries, in-stead to think seriously about USA policies and let his government understand that these policies are harming his nation and isolating USA from the world.

What are Mr. Sick's views about Muslim's Massacre in Gujrat "India?

Being a Muslim, it is my belief that after death, every one will have to answer to God about his doings. Do you think that USA presidents and policy makers have any answers about the innocent killings all over the world due to her policies?

For all other people who have made comments against Muslims and Pakistan, I invite them to read teachings of Islam, and then they will find that it is the religion of peace and harmony. If they visit Pakistan, they will know that it is a peaceful nation. The current situation (terrorism) is foreign sponsored as well as reaction in the shape of hate against cruel policies.

Comments given above are not only my views but represent the thoughts of the majority of the people of the world. If Mr. Sick does not agree with it he may carryout opinion poll.

I prey that all nations of the world think to live with peace and let other nations to live with peace.

While giving my comments, it is my intension to bring peace in the world by reminding the facts and to invite the people of the world to work for peace. It is not my intension to hurt the feelings of anybody, at all. If it happened, I am sorry for that.

Thank you for understanding.

A.H. Anjum, Faisalabbad, Pakistan

Ahmed GiLL:

Mr.Gary
You havent mentioned Musharraf's continued efforts as a front line partner of U.S and its allies and Pakistan's Armed force's continued sacrifice's against terrorism in pakistan and Pak-Afgan border.
( WERE THESE DEGREES OF SACRIFICE'S IN THE TIME OF SHAH ?? )
Pakistan's tribal and rural areas are lake of Education and latest technology. Literacy rate is very low. UNICF,UN and U.S and its allies can change this situation by full financial and technical support and as a result certainly there will be moderate change in new generation of these areas and "NO DANGER AT ALL" ...

ABC:

One thing the U.S. can learn from Iraq, Iran and Pakistan is that interfering in another nation's internal affairs to such disastrous effect is likely to earn the US the institutionalized hatred of that nation's citizens for a couple of generations. Surely that's a policy imperative worth thinking about.

Dr Suleman:

hello Gary Sick,
As you have said in your article you are not expert on pakistan, than you have no right to imagine musharraf as a parallel to Shah of Iran,
Secondly US is responsible for these events which happened in pakistan , US administration founded the Alqaeda in 1980s funding them through CIA to win the war from soviet union(50 percent of american citizens believes that 9/11 was an engineered act planned by CIA to make excuse for invading afghanistan and keep check on china and central asia),thirdly musharraf did more than his share for cleaning american wastes,stop critising musharraf, on one hand american administration asking too much from pakistan and giving their gifts to indian adminstration in form of energy co operation deals.
Before blaming President Musharaf mr Gary Sick you should peep in to US policies , US has the history of creating problems for other nations and then these( US founded ) organistation later start against US,u know TIT FOR TAT
Stop playing games with other nations no body will ever bother you Mr Sick,your surname is probably Sick it would be nice if you would have healthy and nice imaginitions.
Stop putting fingers on others , concenterate on your own country , provide basic health care system to your own citzens almost 2/3rd of american dont have the acsess to basic health care and insurrance, the life expectancy in some states of usa is even less than 3rd world countries ,
pakistani administration is not that much fragile as you are comparing with Shah of Iran .
we are suffering because of US administration selfish policies,they are playing triple cross ,
using RAW and Mosad to induce insurgencies in pakistan and at same time destablizing this region to halt the economic progress of china and earning billions of dollars by engaging countries into wars and selling their weapons,
Pakistani people and armed forces are enough strong to protect their country , dont worry about pakistan , worry about american goals ,
we the people of pakistan are behind our political and military leadership and we will do what ever is in the interest of pakistan.
Mr Sick,PLAY THE DRAMA INFRONT OF YOUR MAMA
im sorry if my comments has offended you.

live and let others to live by their choice
Lord bless pakistan
thank you

hhc:

At the outset I fail to understand how does the subject commentator makes such baseless comments on Pakistan after admitting that he is not an expert on Pakistan.I am therefore, forced to beliebe that this is a part of the campaign lodged against the only nuclear Islamic Country and all of the said material is provided by American,Jewish and Hindu lobby officials.All of them have been busy in misinforming the world by presenting a very bad image of Pakistan.
Terrorism has deep roots in USA,India and Israel and it is these countries which have been instrumental in exporting terrorism to Pakistan to achieve their goals.It is no secret the way muslims are massacured in India,Isreal and in the western world.There is no comparison between Shah of Iran and Musharraf.Shah of Iran was a king safeguarding his personal and American interesrs only but Musharaf is a true and brave Pakistani soldier ,always doing his best to save the interests of his country.He is loyal to his country and is well aware of the external and internal challanges currently facing Pakistan.US sponsored politician,BeNazir Bhutto can not take these pressures and therefore not fit to run the Country.Pakistan nuclear program is in more safer hands than that of India and Isreal so the author of the subject article must focus his concern on them instead of maligning Pakistan.Islam ia a religeon of peace and muslims therefore want to live in peace even with their enemies but the enemies of Islam think that might is right and therefore do everything to suppress them and dictate them to follow in their footsteps which no muslim can do.It is high time that the western world understand that their interests are threatened not by the muslim world but by Israeli and Indian agents spread all over the world.
Thanks

Ali:

Comparing Perviz Musharaf with Shah of Iran in the present sitiution seems to some extent similar.
Killings and disappearing people,down grading the superior courts,bomb blasts,law lessness,prize hike,suicide due to poverty............and what not.
Seeing all these things Bush adminstration is still backing Mushraf,which created haterted for Amercia in the common people.
Other day a freind who is a eathist was talking against the Bush policiy.
Now a extermist to a eithist is against the Amercians policey.
Musharaf delemia is that by any means he want to be in power.
Amercians should keep in mind that no one is indespensable,Amercians should trust the people of Pakistan,mejority of the population is not extermist,they are mild muslims.
They want to live with peace at home and abroad.
So it is high time that a fair and free election
is to be allowed in Pakistan.
By backing Musharaf Bush adminstration is once again is on wrong footings,like she done in Iran in 1979 by backing Shah of Iran.

Ali. Peshawar.

Shahid Buttar:

I recently published an analysis supported by this report: "Supporting Musharraf Fuels Crisis in Pakistan," Foreign Policy in Focus (October 15, 2007), available at http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/4640.

Nasir Naeem Lahore Pakistan:

Gary Sick , despite being no expert on Pakistan how come you can write on such sensitive issues. How you can compare Shah of Iran and Perviaz Musharaf. I am no expert on Iran and have a little knowledge on Iran revolution. I understand that Shah was a king and son of a king. He ruled Iran for many years and Khamenni , an exiled Islamic leader , returned home with a popular public support. Perviaz Musharaf is a brave soldier and came from a middle class family . Started his career as a junior officer in army and with his hard work became COAS . We are talking about COAS of Pakistan Army which is among top ten in the world. He has served the nation as President for last 5 years and now re-elected again for 5 years. He has been elected by people of Pakistan and he is not the President because his father was President.
WOULD YOU BE KIND ENOUGH TO ADVISE WHAT COMMON YOU HAVE FOUND BETWEEN SHAH OF IRAN AND PERVEZ MUSHRAF ?

Before you imagine of a Sunni revolution in Pakistan please do study what Pakistan is ? 70 % of the population is living in rural areas and in 90 % of the villages you will not find any extremist. I believe Pakistan rural population is most moderate muslims in the world. Come and visit villages of Punjab and Sindh you will find men and women working together in fields. Sunni revolution is impossible in Pakistan however we do have extremists in NWFP now but study why they have come into power.Its only US policies in Afganistan after 9/11 which have given boost to extremism in NWFP. Please study the election results before 2002 and you will find very few mullahs got elected in NWFP.

We must understand that Pervez Mussharraf has got support of PML Q and MQM . Though PML Q can not be rated as popular political party however here are so many people in PML Q which get elected in every election regardless of political party they are in , and of course they get elected with people voting for them. MQM is the most popular party in Karachi and since long no one has been able to defeat them in elections.To understand about the popularity of MQM in Karachi and leaders on PML Q in their areas you need to visit Karachi and these areas. Situation may look cloudy in Pakistan while sitting in USA but come and take take a trip from Islamabad to Karachi and Gawadar, the area where 90 % of the population is , you will start believing there is nothing common between Perviaz Mushrraf and Shah of Iran. Please understand there are a number of Islamic and other political parties which are against Pervez Musharraf. How many people they have been able to bring on roads against Pervez Musharraf.

There is nothing absolute in the world. Pakistanis look at Pervez Musharraf compared with Nawaz Sharif answer is Perviaz Musharraf , compared with Benazir Bhutto answer is Perviaz Musharraf , compared with Qazi Hussain Ahmad answer is Pervez Musharaf , compared with Maulana Fazal ul Rehman answer is Pervez Musharaf , compared with Maulana Sami ul Haq answer is Pervez Musharraf and rest of the popular leaders are with Pervez Musharraf. If answer to every comparison is Pervez Musharraf them how you can compare Pervez Musharraf with Shah of Iran. When Iranian people compared Shah with Khamenni they got answer Khamenni . Yes if the people of Pakistan get a personality like Khammeni then may be the answer of Pakistani people change. Right now Pervez Musharraf is standing at Khamenni position in Iranian comparison. Pervez Musharraf is "Savior Of The Nation" . He is the one who said "Pakistan First" (Sab Say Phelay Pakistan) . He is a loyal , brave and proud Pakistani. He will not run away like Shah. He has faced the death so many times in his life. He will prefer to sacrifice his life for Pakistan rather than running away. We know Pervez Musharraf is under constant life threat from Al Qeda and other religious extremists but these are numbered people. All our prayers and well wishes are with Pervez Musharraf.

Please stop worrying about Pakistan's nuclear programmee. It's absolutely in safe hands and will remain in safe hands of Pakistan Army. Better you start thinking of the eggs you have put in Afganistan and Iraq baskets

Saab Say Phelay Pakistan

Nasir Naeem , Lahore , Pakistan

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

PAYMAN,

Every word that you write is correct except the conluding line : "These are policies that the average US tax payer has to pay for without really knowing what the depth and where the sources of these problems are."

Firstly, it is not just the US taxpayer that pays -- it is the whole world, even when you consider only the financial costs. How? Firstly, many of the taxpayers of the US are immigrants and recent citizens who received an expensive education financed by the taxpayers of their countries of origin. Second, the bad policies result in a sharp depreciation of the US dollar, (such as we are currently witnessing and such as we witnessed in 1985) that erodes the value of the forex reserves that other countries have accumulated because of the thoroughly insane fact that, against any rationality except the US' military might and the stupidity of humanity to understand no language other than that of brutal force as the most effective way of maintaining law and order, the US dollar reamins the world's reserve currency.

Yes, US megacorporations provide the larger share of the tax revenue, but it is in their interests that the bad policies that you deplore are waged and the financial gains of control of resources (oil, other minerals, markets for goods ans services and military equipment) accue mostly to them. So, there is a net financial gain to the megacorporations from the havoc created by mad US policies, whereas there are very heavy costs to the rest of the world, both direct in terms of the damage done and indirect in terms of totally distorted control over markets and resources and cinsumption patters that increase obesity in the US and the predator countries themselves, etc.

So, the depth and the sources of the problems are well-known. A MAD, MAD, MAD obsession that the US has a manifest destiny to impose order on the world by the use of brutal force, a 'manifest destiny' hijacked by politican predators for personal enrichment and party-financing purposes, by megacorporations' commercial strategists, by lobbyists, and by corrupt leaders in developing countries whose resources eventually get robbed, among others to acieve their most cynical and selfish ends to the detriment of the whole mass of unsuspecting humanity.

Ahmad Nawaz Bhatti:

Gary Sick

As you wrote that you are no expert on our country but you are giving your opinion that what is going to happen here in Pakistan.

I am totally disagree with your views about comparing President Perviaz Musharraf and Shah of Iran and what is going to happen if Sunni radicals take control of nuclear Pakistan. You are just speculating. I am a Pakistani and I know my society very well and I live among ordinary public there is absolutely no dislike about President Musharraf, in fact public is very happy of the policies of the present government and President Musharraf’s interest to improve the living standard of the ordinary people. As an ordinary citizen I don’t see any revolution in Pakistan in near future. Pakistan Army is a professional army and they are fully capable to protect Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is in very safe hands and Jewish lobby has no need to be worried about that. For you information Sunni Muslims are not radicals. Under the dynamic leadership of President Musharraf Pakistan’s future is very bright.

Payman:

Regretfully, the US tax payers fall victim to the wrong policies of the United States government.

1-In 1953, the US goverment financially sponsored a coup against Mossadegh's government in Iran to bring back the Shah to power. Mossadegh had a democrat-nationalist-anti-socialist agenda, and he was constantly under attack from the left for being pro-American. Net result was 35 years of a corrupt-anti-democratic government running Iran, while creating deep resentments among the Iranian population. During this period, pro-religous groups gained power not because they offered a better solution to Iran's problems, but because relgious institutions were generally free to operate, and with the exception of a few, the majority of Iranian political prisoners were leftists. Iranian revolution was not driven by the desire to uphold Islamic laws. It was a nationalistic movement that became increasingly religous because those were the only institutions that had roots and were able to organize the oppositions against the Shah, thanks to 35 years of shutting down any newspaper, organization, or even a book that presented democratic values.

2-When Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan, the US government supported Afghan Mujahedins (ie people like Osama Bin Laden). The people of Afghanistan not only did not want democracy, they did not know what democracy was. They needed clean water, schools, universities, access to basic technology, basic healthcare, etc. And I believe, the pro-soviet government was providing these basic needs. A pro-soviet government is superior to a Taliban-like government any day, of course not because of democratic values, but because of basic standards of human life (excluding freedom of expression). The Soviet-Mujahedin war fueled the emergence of strict and fanatic religous schools in Pakistan funded by Saudi Arabia, and partly by the United States. As long as Afghan Mujahedins were fighting against the Soviets, they were freedom fighters, never mind the values they were fighting for.

3-After the recent Afghan war, instead of pouring resources to rebuild Afghanistan, securing its borders with Pakistan, and getting rid of the Taliban altogether, the United States, feeling powerful and mighty, attacks Iraq based on cooked up intelligence and false assumptions sold as facts by the likes to Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the Israeli lobby. Now the United States cannot get out of Iraq, has messed up Afghanistan, and basically has openned two fronts against the fanatics, never mind the irreplacable human loss Iraq's tragedy is causing every day.

4-Now, in the middle of this mess, heavily influenced by the Israeli lobby, the United States wants to pick a fight with Iran, never mind that the main institutions of Wahabi-type Islamic ideas are in place in Pakistan, Bin-Laden inc. is operating along the Afghan-Pakistan border, and Pakistan already has a nuclear bomb.

These are policies that the average US tax payer has to pay for without really knowing what the depth and where the sources of these problems are.

Bilal Sadiq:

In Pakistan Quandary, U.S. Reviews Stance
By Gary Sick

Dear , i like to ask you some thing , What U.S policy you want to change , from muslims point of view , you should change the policy to Jewish State , why i am saying that , because you created that failed State on the first place. and Gave the "Right to Return" to Jewish People , where they don't belong, Secondly Why that same Right of return is not given to people of Palestine. Why don't you bomb israel first , they have atom bomb many year's before pakistan had it. Iran doesn't have Bomb right now , it will have after 4 to 8 year (What IAEA says). So Start from Israel.

Now comes on international terrorism , You say Pakistan created international terrorism but History says U.S was the country who provided the training and Weapons for international terrorism Against U.S.S.R , so U.S should be bombed first , Pentagon was the Biggest Supportor of international terrorism. Who provided support to India in 1971 WAR "U.S". Who Stopped Pakistan for taking over Khasmir in 1965 "U.S". Who Attacked Iraq "U.S". So World's problem lying not in pakistan , it lying in U.S.A.
We as muslims were peacfully religion , who promoted terrorism in the name of Jhad , U.S. who should revised its policy , it is America not pakistan. Solve the Problem's of Muslim around the world. Only then world will be a better place to live for every one.

I say U.S should not blame Musharraf for failures of its own.

Sage:

You should ask Beharis and Kelarites if they wish to belong to India. I cannot answer that question.

I know for certain that no Baloch wants to be part of Pakistan.

Pakistan must stop the occupation of Balochistan and withdraw its armed thugs, the Punjabi army from Balochistan.

Balochistan never wanted to be part of Pakistan and never will be.

One question:

Did the Indian army pick up Beharis and Kelarites in a helicopter and then drop them on rocks and smash their heads?

Pakistan did that to Balochis and nearly 300,000 Balochi freedom fighters have been murdered by the Punjabi army so far.

Amir Saleem:

I am a Pakistani, so what I think about my country and my leadership? Does this count? I guess this is the issue; America has influence, a big influence in our country and politics. Today they are bank rolling the Benazir campaign and rumors are that Musherraf gets his salary for doing the difficult job. In Pakistan, we believe ultimately, we pay the price of that, and once those decisions go grossly wrong the extent of damage can be larger. I failed to get the real point of Sick article and debate thereafter. Is this article written to equate Pakistan to a country like Iran, so that fears which already exist in Western and American minds can be used or lend upon to make some sort of ground against Pakistan? This might sound cynical to some but many of us are forced to think that these articles are not to show opinion or generate a debate but have a far reaching purpose and perhaps to lay a ground for some future threat.

In reality, what is Pakistan? Is Pakistan a biggest training center of terrorist? Is Pakistan a nuclear threat to any one? If some one honestly tries to ask and answer the issues are clear,

a) Pakistan is a third world relative poor country; people are struggling to have a life (leave alone a good life). They do not have access to good education, health or other things. What also we have like many other is bit of faith, the tone of that varies from person to person and area to area. We have ethnic loyalties. We have this so called image of one Muslim nation "Ummah". In general if we are left alone, what will emerge after struggle will be a relative religious liking, educated country? This is where the problem is, in my analysis, America in particular and west in general, is so irritated by the notion of Islam that they do not like to see a religiously toned Pakistan. They think it is not safe for them or perhaps the neo-cons think this is not good for their agenda (to which we have no idea). So they insist to have a moderate or secular Pakistan. Truth is that to have good socially responsible Pakistan you must accept that it will be Islamic country with all kind of people in there but average result will be a Muslim state with liking of Islam and people supporting that. If America and our neighbors accept that and support this and do not push corrupt leaders on us, then yes some up and downs but finally the evolution and common sense should prevail and in 20-50 years you will have a Muslim Pakistan which contributes to well being of it's people and neighbors.

b) Coming to terrorist cells? Yes I guess there are some in Pakistan? But there mere presence on our soil does not make them Pakistani? Does it. Come think, you have terrorists cells in US, Europe does this make your country terrorists? Off course not. Then why you hype this issue about Pakistan? There must be some thing you wish to sow in the minds of your people and then go after..Does it sound like a Jewish or Neo con conspiracy, might be not, and might be. We have to consider all possibilities as this can not be just about terrorism. American and European forces are in Iraq and Afghanistan for ages now, they could not succeed to wean out all these cells there how the hell you think Pakistan with its limited resources root out all the terrorist cells. Terrorist cells are a disruption activity with totally different frame work and principals. It has at times backing from elements within the society and Govt. But this is true for USA also, CIA is perhaps one of the biggest backer of these activity, why not curb that organization first.

c) Nuclear Pakistan? I keep wondering perhaps this is an issue which we have to think how to handle. Our problem is we do not have peace with India, which we should have. If we have, we have no need for this stupidity. But then again what stops peace between India and Pakistan, it is certainly not Pakistani citizens, India we can see in recent years a bit of too much hawkish attitude and perhaps bit of extremism but at large I think Indian people also want Peace. Though India has been progressing well, it would be far better off to spend it's resources on it's people than on its military. So if the America or Europe is really thinking our nuke as problem, perhaps they should support the people on both sides of Pakistan and India to reach each other and make peace. Can these nukes be in hand of extremist or religious fanatics? I do not honestly have answer, as I do not know how well these are protected etc. But I can only say that we would not have to fear that if we have stable socially responsible govt. and who stops that? It is America and Europe they keep on insisting to have secular or Moderate Pakistan, you can't have that. Pakistan can be only a religious Muslim Pakistan, any other thing you push, generates more extremism, fanatics, and un-happy lot in country. I think once this is understood, all is well.

Parallel between Iran and Pakistan are beyond the point, I do not know the Iran of 1979, but I know Iran of today, I have seen them a lot and I know Iran people today are totally different from Pakistan, the culture, the values, the thinking. Based on that I can think perhaps they were different from us in 1979 also. If that was the case then drawing this parallel is useless! But come to think of it, may be the only parallel is that at time also you have your agenda and you pushed it without considering the people of that country in the equation, today against same, you do not consider what Pakistan is and what Pakistani are. You have your agenda and for that you look for options as if we are mare pawns in your game?

Of all the options the most obvious option for world and America is simple and easy to take, that is do not interfere in other nations development, you can assist but with honesty of purpose. If you want progress , assist the civic society, help us in Education, Health, and Justice. Do not help our Military regimes, or corrupt politicians, do not bank roll them to wealth at cost of our nations. Yes there will be bumps on this ride and some turns which will be scary but end result is sure in this case. This will be a socially responsible and peaceful country. If you want take this option of no interference.


Maria:

chatterjee:

Get your facts straight - Pakistan was created because Nehru et al essentially declined to have a federation based power-sharing government with the Muslim League prior to the subcontinent's independence. Hence it was the Congress that gave the go-ahead for the partition rather than working out an some consensus.

The biggest negation to the theory that Pakistan was a theocratic state is the fact all Muslim religious leaders and parties denounced the idea of partition and creating a new country. Must sound horrifically shattering to the Islamophobic grand narrative you often play in your mind.

Why of course Mush will concede to dangerous nuke secrets being leaked for another 9/11 attack on the west - a perfectly illegitimate military coup needs to be justified for another ten years to all our friends in the white house. He has also forgiven millions of dollars worth of taxpayers money that Benazir Bhutto stole from Pakistan when it wasn't his to forgive.But you see, Bhutto has promised to open doors for the USA manhunt for Osama if only she is bought back into power by America - and America has used its 'gentle' persuasion to get her back in the country and make Mush 'understand' that they must work together for the case of 'terrorism'.

See Deb, as long as there are 'civilized' and 'intelligent' people like you voicing the cause of 'terrorism' in states that you have never visited and never read up on, countries like Iraq and Afghanistan will be broken, shattered and exploited by both people from the outside and inside.

TruthBeKnown:

Regarding tapes that surface after years, ever heard of cheap camcorder and cheap actors? If all the tapes of Bombay bombings are fake, why couldn't this be as well.

kofferfisch:

Nuclear Pakistan, so what? Dont see politics in such a materialistic way. Israel has the bomb, has it ever used it? Terrorists are terrorists, but they are not crazy, contrary to popular believe. And they dont have the rockets to reach the US. Take 9/11 as what it was: a very carefuly designed mostly symbolic attack on the US who are not a warloving nation.

Deb Chatterjee:

Mohamed Malleck,

Don't you agree that America should kick all Muslims out of its borders, and especially those who emigrated to USA from Pakistan.

The failed theocratic state of Pakistan is now a basket state waiting to be bombed.

Don't you think that this is a accurate description of the future of Pakistan ?

rk, Oakland, USA:

Just to try and further the conversation started by
Mr Sick, does anyone think that is possible that the man who could be the Khomeini figure in Pakistan might be Osama Bin Laden?

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

Hey, here's Chatter again!

I wonder whether he was among those that Tehelka caught on tape planning against Gujrat Muslims?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/25/AR2007102501829.html

Roger:

Gary Sick is on target when he points out that Bush/Rice/Cheney have bet on the wrong horse in Pakistan. But why does he even think that the U.S. must adjust its foreign policy to affect Pakistan? The visceral response to this post reflect the disgust Pakistanis feel with Amercan meddling in the area. Benazir Bhutto warned the U.S.(on Sick's watch) that they were creating a monster when they supported jihad against the Russians in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The problem is that the Baluchis, the Israelis, the Kurds and Armenians and many other nationalist movements around the world are all angling to get the U.S. to whip their opponents, and now we have a president who thinks it is his god-given mission to do it. That the Pashtuns, Palestinians and Turks have legitimate interests and may even be susceptible to reason and economic help, never crosses his mind until it is too late to rein in the dogs.

The U.S. isn't the solution in the Middle East. It's the problem. Get out. Ron Paul for Prez!

Charles:

Gary Sick states, repeatedly, that he is not an expert on Pakistan, and that some of his descriptions are gross simplifications. So why is he making a comparison between Iran and Pakistan? Because his goal is to point to problems with *US* foreign policy. His goal is NOT to make any kind of brilliant comparison of Iranian and Pakistani history. He seems to see a pattern in US behavior that needs fixing (one among many, no doubt). I don't quite grasp why so many readers have chosen to freak out.

SpeakTheTruth:

pakistan is a failed state. It can't control its borders, lives off the largesse of its patrons saudis and americans that feed it what they want and yank its chain when they want. Either the population can wake up and take responsibility, stop the religion nonsense, drive out the terrorist amongst them, become secular and progressive, establish a federal system that is largely self-governed at a local level or they can continue to believe in caveman, blame others for their problems, opress women and stay at the short end of the next dictator's stick whose noose is controlled by outsiders, the choice is theirs.

Deb Chatterjee:

Reading the "civilized" and "intelligent" rebuttals to Dr. Gary Sick's article, particularly the masterpiece by Hanif Bhaty from Karachi, Pakistan, shows that indeed Pakistan and its citizens are in a state of indecent Islamic chaos of the (AAA) Trinity: A-llah, A-merica, A-rmy.

Now that the wahabis have crept back from the dark caves, thanks to Mush and the batch of fanatic radicals in the ISI, the civilized world (sans Pakistan) has much to worry. Who knows ? Pakistan may again sponsor a 9/11 on USA/UK/Netherlands or with much ease on India. The Talibans have become desperate in their bloodlust. Pakistan's Dr. A. Q. Khan stole the nuke secrets from Holland in 1978 and still has a warrant hanging on his head. He sold them to Iran, Libya and North Korea - and Musharraf has conceded that Dr. Khan did so.

The recent Newsweek article on Pakistan suggests that the country needs to be declared as the "Terrorist State". It's indeed the beginings of the Third World War that Pakistan will help to catalyze. Thanks to Gary for showing us the indicators on that score.

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

Anonymous,

Maybe you're right. But does that diminish the cancer on the human race that America has become lately?

What are YOU doing to contribute something positive to counter, however infinitesimally, America's massively destructive influence, these past few years, on the global fraternity's welfare?

You might want to read the article below:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/102507E.shtml

Anonymous:

To consider US-PAKISTAN relations as a two way issue is to be extremely naive - it is really a menage-a-trois with Saudi Arabia being an active participant. Its common knowledge that whenever the General is in trouble he goes running to Riyadh - that is eventually where his orders come from. At the same time the Saudis are keeping the US Dollar artificially propped up by not depegging the riyal-dollar exchange rate and they support US Foreign policy in the middle east. As long as the Saudis fancy Musharraf, the US will just have to play along. Notice how Nawaz Sharif was whisked away and placed under house arrest in Saudi Arabia, no murmurs about democracy being compromised or any kind protests from the US, remember.

Alam :

This report and reviews are based not on truth and have conspiracy theory typr thoughts and this is not expected from a an eduacted person. Pakistan the greatest ally in war on terrorism and playing a key role, Now they are doing a job for others, I think admire Pakistan and people for having a great sense of patience.
Let us help Pakistan, People and Leaders of Pakistan to make it a more stronger and Stable Pakistan and World.

Hanif Bhaty / Karachi Pakistan:

I think Gary sick has really gone sick and he should see the doctor.If here is any doctor please check his temperature. Very first he has no right to interfere in the affairs of any country. Secondly his comments and comparision for Pakistan and Iran is totally baseless and non informative since both the countries have their own get up and their matters were not identical before and not identical today even.The way Gen Pervez Musharraf is handling the issues rather confidently the world should be thankful to Pakistan. I dont know who is actually patronizing terrorism and who are those hidden hands but today we have only one issue either Osama , Taliban or Al Qaeeda. Are we that sure enough to say all the terrorism done by the above three only or cant there be anyone else taking advantage over them or over there issues.
If you ask or question anyone or any quarter no one will declare terrorism right.Pakistan is fighting first against terrorism for its own reasons and here we are right. Since 9/11 we talk only on Osama , Taliban or Al Qaeeda what my mind analyse today that they are all the characters of the same movie and that movie has become Box Office. Pakistan is sensible enough to handle its nuclear matters very well and knows well that it should be in safe hands. The whole world needs to change the strategy otherwise we the world cannot control terrorism.
Pakistan issues cannot be compared with Iran in anyway since Iran did not have a nuclear technology during The Islamic Revoultion. Pakistan acquired nuclear technology much earlier.
IT is not only Pakistan I should say but the entire world should follow the footsteps of Gen Mushharaf if they want to get rid of any terrorism. It is yet to ascertian well according to my opinion who are actually doing terrorism. It is not yet clear. Who is the beneficiary of all such terrorism ?
Islam or any religion cannot be blamed for terrorism since Izlam teaches brotherhood like any other religion. It teaches to respect all others equally. If we mix terrorism with Izlam or any other religion would be totally wrong. There is a religion in between all the major religions of the world and that is " TERRORISM "
All are responsible. We cannot blame anyone.
So Musharraf is following a moderate policy to ease the ongoing problem in the world after 9/11.

www.regimeofterror.com:

Saddam didn't have a nuke program?

Then why the heck did el Baradei just go nuts about Israel bombing Syria and say that the precedant would be another underground nuke program like what Saddam had going on until the U.S. invasion?

You lefty, hate Bush facts, keep letting emotion run your thoughts instead of facts.

Nadeem Masood:


There is a gross simplification! Indeed by comparing shah with general Musharraf!

General Musharraf has mainstream parties supporting him while in Iran there was a total revolt!

Some candidates putting up show by spending millions of dollars just to create an impression that they are champion of democracy! One should not walk into the trap (plan B)without having complete ground realities.

Nadeem Masood:


There is a gross simplification! Indeed by comparing shah with general Musharraf!

General Musharraf has mainstream parties supporting him while in Iran there was a total revolt!

Some candidates putting up show by spending millions of dollars just to create an impression that they are champion of democracy! One should not walk into the trap (plan B)without having complete ground realities.

Fahd:

people who have no idea what they are talking about should not be given space in the washington post to conjecture. pakistan is very different from iran-- different history, different mentality, and different reality.

how can there be a danger of "radical sunnis" taking over when the only competent institution is the army-- which is overwhelmingly moderate? in fact, the entire country is overwhelmingly moderate, contrary to popular belief.

it has become very chic in the media to blabber on about this danger of pakistan.

there is, however, one similarity that US policy with iran exhibited that is now being shown with respect to US policy in Pakistan. that, as is exhbited by this article, is that we don't bother to understand the countries that we are puportedly allies with (i.e. trying to control). that is the REAL problem in our foreign policy and elsewhere.

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

DARIOUSH,

I am not going to argue with you about a small memory lapse, 28 years after the event, of 2 weeks' difference in dates, regarding the "Jaleh sqyare massacre" and the burning of cinema Rex, which was condemned by one and all. Compare 400 people burnt alive with 2 million victims of the Iran/Iraq war, and pass a judgement on your own sense of proportion.

I could tell you much, much more, not only what my friends have lived the horrors (including at least two who had been incarcerated at Evin prison and had their ptivate parts electrocurted by SAVAK only because, as activist students at Tehran University, they took part in demonstrations), what I myself have suffered, what I have witnessed when the CIA evacuated at short notice all the guests at the Hilton Tehran Hotel near where ICMS used to be to use it as their headqurters in Tehran for 'intelligence' planning. These are all too well documented, not least in Francis Wheen's relatively recent book "How Mubo Jumbo Conquered the World".

All I can say is, even at some risk to me (I sign my name and publish my address! And, yes Mehrabad airport did not open for commercial flights in August 1979, maybe May, June or July, but the first flight I could catch was in August!), I had the duty to share my up-close experience. The sequels of the blunders committed then (which Gary Sick himself aclowledges) are still with us today. Islamophobia might blind you into ascribing all blame for what you construe as "a legacy of prostitution and drugs depriving the Iranian youth of living the age in which they are born" on those I call 'good Muslims'. But, intelligent observers will all tell you that Iran today is much more democratic than it had ever been under the Shah, despite the relentless efforts by the West to isolate the country.

As for Pakistan, its people will resolve the country's internal problems irrespective of whether 'the free world' attempts to 'bomb the country forward into democarcy' or 'bomb it back to the stone age'.

Darioush:

Mohamed MALLECK's indignant tone against Gary Sick's pertinent historical parallel is not born out by the simplistic analysis he offers. Nor are the reference dates he cites lend better credibility to his analysis. The "Jaleh Square massacre" happened not a week before his arrival in Iran on 21 August 1978 but on 8 September. The event he is confusing it with happened on 20 August. It was a terrorist attack by pro-Khomeini fanatics at Abadan Cinema Rex in which over 400 people mostly school children and parents were burned alive, a grisly act of deliberate arson which was post-facto acknowledged by "good Moslems" Mohamed in touting. See among score of material http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_Rex_Fire.
[I forego commenting on Mohamed’s reference to reopening of Tehran airport which is another memory-slip on his part]

These same ‘good Moslems’ came to power in February 1979 and in few short months surpassed the number of executions the Shah's regime is accountable for over 37 years, including during 25 years of the Shah’s direct authoritarian rule. After almost three decades of in power these ‘good Moslem’ have distinguished themselves in brinksmanship and left a legacy of prostitution and drugs depriving the Iranian youth of living the age in which they are born.

Events of the revolution are too complex to lend themselves to bumper-stick judgements. Graffiti’s on Washington or Tehran walls does not provide a sound frame of analysis for policy decisions and Gary wisely raises the red flag against oversimplification. In Pakistan to-day as in Iran of those days the US does not have easy policy choices. May be US should take a good look at its own voluntarist foreign policy approach that assumes every thing could be fixed and US is mandated to fix it.

Darian:

Mohamed MALLECK's indignant tone against Gary Sick's pertinent historical parallel is not born out by the simplistic analysis he offers. Nor are the reference dates he cites lend better credibility to his analysis. The "Jaleh Square massacre" happened not a week before his arrival in Iran on 21 August 1978 but on 8 September. The event he is confusing it with happened on 20 August. It was a terrorist attack by pro-Khomeini fanatics at Abadan Cinema Rex in which over 400 people mostly school children and parents were burned alive, a grisly act of deliberate arson which was post-facto acknowledged by "good Moslems" Mohamed in touting. See among score of material http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_Rex_Fire.
[I forego commenting on Mohamed’s reference to reopening of Tehran airport which is another memory-slip on his part]

These same ‘good Moslems’ came to power in February 1979 and in few short months surpassed the number of executions the Shah's regime is accountable for over 37 years, including during 25 years of the Shah’s direct authoritarian rule. After almost three decades of in power these ‘good Moslem’ have left in Iran a legacy of prostitution and drugs depriving the Iranian youth of living the age in which they are born.

Events of the revolution are too complex to lend themselves to bumper-stick judgements. Graffiti’s on Washington or Tehran walls does not provide a sound frame of analysis for policy decisions and Gary wisely raises the flag against oversimplification. In Pakistan to-day as in Iran of those days the US does not have easy policy choices. May be US should take a good look at its own voluntarist foreign policy approach that assumes every thing could be fixed and US is mandated to fix it.

Nauman Ahmad:

Aoa!
Mr Gary i don't like ur ideas.Tell me first how can u interfere in internal affairs of pakistan and now listen it is our choice that Musharaf is the right person 4 president ok.he has done a great job 4 pakistan and 4 opposition i only want to say that instead of taunting on Musharaf and waisting their time they should help him in making Pakistan a progressive country and also note one thing that they will give their ideas to Musharaf if and only if they Love Pakistan otherwise they will keep struggling to get Leadership only.
AND MR GARY IN FUTURE PLEASE DON'T GIVE ANY OF UR IDEA WE ARE ENOUGH TO THINK ABOUT PAKISTAN BY THE GRACE OF GOD.
THANKS.

Falak Sher:

Dear Sir whole situation is based on presumption. there is no similarity of Pakistan & Iran situation. Pervaiz Musharraf is one of the loyalist to America and our command and control system is so hardened that nobody can make leakage in it. We all are muslim and our religion teaches us peace and harmoey.Islam does not teach terrorist activities. It says that one who saves one life saves the lives of whole people.The report seems to be based on bias. Insha Allah the internal situation of Pakistan would be stabled in the process of election and reconcilliation. The man should not be disappointed. In urdu language " PAVESTA REH SHAJAR SE - UMEED-E- BAHAR RAKH.

Nazar Awan:

Iran political situation in 1979 and its compare with Pakistan present politics is not correct. Concern shown from various quarter do not carry any weight. Imam Khemeni returned after 18 years exile and compelled SHAH to leave Iran. One thing is very important to understand that which power supported Khemani. According to me there were two things that supported him, one was his character and the other was general public support. On the other hand Shah was fully equipped with force that was loyal to him, beside this USA was on his back. But what happened, we saw with Iranian public support Khamani formed his own Government and since that period Iran is going to be a powerful country in the region.

In Pakistan, Is there any situation like Iran of 1979? The answer is NO. Pervaiz Musharaf is a brave soldier and a loyal Pakistani. Politically in Pakistan there is no problem, every politician is fully independent to act. Print and electronic media is fully independent. Due to USA intervention in Afghanistan there are some problems in tribal area in NWFP. I accused USA for any kind of instability in these areas. If he create peace in Afghanistan then of course there will be peaces in waziristan otherwise I don’t think there will be any peace.

In Balouchistan due to lot of developments peoples thinking is changed then that of few years ago. Now the poor peoples of Balouchistan understand that there Sardar give them nothing except empty slogan. I advice the writer and the peoples who have posted their comment in his favor, must see the ground realities and quote the exact what is happening on ground and narrate the basic problems in Pakistan.

Politics in Pakistan is a matter of Pakistan, I am wondering how the powerful countries show their concern in Pakistan, and will they accept the same for their own country. Pakistan politics is a matter of Pakistani Nation and they will decide better in forth coming election.

About Pervaiz Musharaf, either he will be the President of Pakistan for next five years is a purely Pakistan internal matter. Pakistani peoples don’t allow any one to comment on internal matters.

The Champion of Democracy, who enforces the poor developing countries to have the government of their own choice and deprived the Peoples to select their representative through election, has no right to do the projection of democracy.


Ali:

How long are we going to keep listening to a failed policymaker and discredited conspiracy theorist, a man Marlin Fitzwater called "the Kitty Kelly of U.S. Foreign Policy"?

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE6DB1638F937A35756C0A967958260

Muhammad Ashraf Malik:

Gray's observations are absloutly correct and rationale. Muasshraf has lost support of 12 Corps commanders and now trying to put his burden upon people rooted political parties like Benazir Bhutto. But he is still hanging between unpopular and Corrupts Chaudaries of Gujrat who have not political backing. They are agian misleading him and trying to pakistan bush toward no point of return. It is in the interest of both Pakistan and US to bush Muasshraf to follow through the power sharing deal between Benazir and him and for that he has to be assertive rathering puting his legs on both boat of Chaudhries or Bhutto.

Muhammad Ashraf Malik:

Gray's observations are absloutly correct and rationale. Muasshraf has lost support of 12 Corps commanders and now trying to put his burden upon people rooted political parties like Benazir Bhutto. But he is still hanging between unpopular and Corrupts Chaudaries of Gujrat who have not political backing. They are agian misleading him and trying to pakistan bush toward no point of return. It is in the interest of both Pakistan and US to bush Muasshraf to follow through the power sharing deal between Benazir and him and for that he has to be assertive rathering puting his legs on both boat of Chaudhries or Bhutto.

Mahmoud:

So, to paraphrase Dr. Sick: While I can see that the current administration is on the verge of making the same mistake I did under Carter, I have absolutely nothing to offer them in terms of how to avoid doing so. In my era, one of the biggest obstacles to averting disaster was that "no one had any good ideas." As you can see from my essay, that's still the case.

Courageuse anonyme:

Two comments:
Sage: You could also easily argue something similar about India, but I don't think it would be correct. Separatists in Assam have nothing in common with Keralites or Goans. Punjabis have little in common with Tamils. The same goes for Biharis and Keralites. Does that mean India shouldn't continue as a single nation?

Dr. Sick: I respect the points you're making, but I don't think there's a Khomeini-like figure either in exile or living in Pakistan who's ready and waiting to make a big, splashy return and unite the country under his rule. So I think this is one important difference between Iran in the 1970s and Pakistan today. Folks may feel worried about "extremists" and "radicals" taking over--but who exactly would unite them? And would Pakistanis embrace such a takeover? I doubt it.

allama:

SAGE is right. Unlike Iran, Pakistan is not cohesive nation-state.

Sage:

It makes more sense for Pakistanis to re-examine the wisdom of continuing as a single nation.

The Pakhtuns of NWFP have nothing in common with the Balochis, Sindhis and Punjabi all of whom have nothing in common with each other. Islam has failed to be a glue throughout the Muslim world because it does not address the needs of modern life.
Balochistan and Sindh should be given their independence and NWFP should form a loose confederation with Afghanistan with whom the Pakhtuns have more commonalities. When the limbs are diseased it hurts the body more if they are kept intact with the body. It is time to chop them off.

The Balochis have always wanted to be independent. We never wanted to be part of Pakistan. The Pakistan government is supporting Islamist groups close to the Taliban in its attempt to suppress the freedom fighters of Balochistan. Pakistanis are using a divide and rule policy to suppress the Balochis. The Pakistani government supports Pashtun Islamist parties like the JUI-F, a key patron of the Afghan Taliban, in a bid to counter secular and moderate Baloch organizations. Balochs have been waging a nearly 60-year movement seeking independence and the control of Balochistan’s rich resources.

Al Qaeda and the Taliban and its Pakistani allies including the Musharraf government are using Balochistan as a base of operation and sanctuary and recruiting from JUI's (Jamaat Islami’s)extensive madarasa network. And with its own interests in mind, the US support for Musharraf is alienating the Balochis, who otherwise could be natural partners of the West in countering Islamic extremism in Pakistan and other parts of the Muslim world.

The Pakistani government should cease all military operations in Balochistan, release all political prisoners, including those in the unlawful custody of intelligence agencies, and accept the Supreme Court's directive to end the disappearances of political opponents. It should immediately produce those charged with criminal offences before competent civilian courts, which should be responsible for any trials, and drop terrorism charges against Balochistan National Party leader Akthar Mengal and release him from custody. Pakistan has no jurisdiction in Balochistan.

The staunchly anti-Taliban, anti-Al Qaeda and secular Baloch believe that the international community has yet to understand the threat the Pakistani military and it's Islamist allies pose, domestically and externally.

A rich and independent Balochistan will provide a good and accessible market for Pakistani goods. Pakistan needs economic progress to become stable. Holding on to Balochistan will delay Pakistan’s economic liberation ad infinitum.

xyz:

I dont think Musharraf is anything like Shah of Iran. There are 12 corps commander that are so loyal to him that they overthrew a govt for him. Also, historically, no Govt of Pakistan has deemed US as an enemy. I understand that redicals have higher visibility than normal pakistanis, but that, in no way, means that majority of Pakistanis are redical sunnis.

xyz:

I dont think Musharraf is anything like Shah of Iran. There are 12 corps commander that are so loyal to him that they overthrew a govt for him. Also, historically, no Govt of Pakistan has deemed US as an enemy. I understand that redicals have higher visibility than normal pakistanis, but that, in no way, means that majority of Pakistanis are redical sunnis.

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

Gary,

This is of absolute importance and I advise you to read what I am going to write with the greatest care.

You argue " We had placed all of our eggs in the shah's basket; we had no visible alternative."

While you were sitting at your desk at the National Security Council in DC in 1979, I was myself in Tehran at the Harvard-sponsored Iran Centre for Mangement Studies (arriving in Tehran on or about Saturday 21 August 1978, about a week after the 'Jaleh Square massacre', and living the Revolution in the flesh every day until soon after airports reopened in August 1979). Before arriving in Tehran, I had already read Paul Erdman's "Crash of 1979". Two years earlier, in June/July 1977, I had been on attachment at the IMF and had witnessed with my own eyes the huge graffitis on the walls and on the pavements in Washington DC calling for the US to stop supporting the dictatorial Shah, denouncing the torture and murderous acts of his secret police SAVAK, and much, much more, very eloquent about the imminent downfall of the Shah. I saw the police cordoning off streets the day of the arrival of the Shah and pushing back protesting crowds of Iranain students and others in a mind-blowing spectacle that I would not see for another two decades until the Seattle protests against the Doha Round Trade Liberalisation negotiations.

NO, Gary! You cannot say you had no choice. You cannot say that you did not see it coming in 1979. Even after the downfall of the Shah, when Empress Farah and Ashraf Pahlavi had been calling for a counter-revolution and you and your colleagues may wrongly have advised President Carter that that option might have a chance of success, you had other choices even if no other than DO NOTHING. The gripes against the US for supporting the Shah would have healed quickly. There would not have been any hostage taking. It was the 'bazaar', not MEK, Mujahideen Khalq and Masud Rajavi, that reflected the wishes of the good, proud, generous (for me and for them that is synonymous with Muslim, Islamic) Iranian people. But, no. America undertands only the language of might, MIGHT! We'll bomb them back to the stone age. That was THEN the mantra. That is still today the mantra.

That was the mantra in Iran in 1979, and of course, in 1980-88 when one Saddam Hussein was leveraged in a monstrous war against that same good Iranain people. That was the mantra when, just before the invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan was told about the notion of bombing the Pakisatnis back to the stone age and, just so that the message would carry full credibility, India massed 2 million troops on the border with Pakistan. Coincidence? Yes, yes! Just, as the minor Shatt-al-Arab dispute turned out into an 8-year, 2million vitim war just by coincidence!

That was the mantra in the case of Iran in 1979. That is the mantra today in the case of Pakistan. Just read Juan Cole's article in Slate titled "The Collapse of Bush's Foreign Policy" as well as preceding articles where he denounces how counter-productive had proved to be the unduly intense pressure put by the US on Musharraf to crack down on the Taliban and on dissidents in NWFP and Balochistan.

But also read former Ambassdor Bhadrakumar's article in AsiaTimes Online titled "Benazir Bhutto's Second Homecoming", especially the conclusion which advises America what it can do to help itself and to help stability in the SouthAsia/'Greater Central Asia'/'Greater West Asia' region (take your pick according to which geo-strategic line of attack you are pursuing).

There are options, Gary. One has to keep one's eyes and one's mind open to see them. One has to be intelligent enough to choose the correct option that maximizes, fist and foremost, one's own 'payoff', then also the 'payoff' for the players with the largest stakes, then for the totality of stakeholders.

GOOD LUCK!

omar:

Gary Sick is absolutely right. Musharraf is a goner. There is absolutely no way he can survive another year in Pakistan. No one wishes him well except a few sycophantic politicians that he rescued from corruption charges and put in place as his civilian facade. The idea that he will somehow pull himself together and start doing things right is ludicrous. He has never shown any such ability in the past.

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