Ali Eteraz at Pajamas Media suggests that if the U.S. would drop Musharraf and support an independent panel investigating the killing of Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistanis would wake up to the evils of political Islam and vote pro-American:
An independent panel will likely conclude that it was the terrorists that killed Ms. Bhutto and not any elements associated with Musharraf himself. By doing so, Musharraf will be able to clear the cloud of suspicion hanging over his head, and might, in the process, be able to use the international community to identify how much the pro-Taliban elements have infiltrated Pakistan’s government. By severing itself from Musharraf and calling for an objective international panel, the US might also be able to see the extent of Musharraf’s complicity with the Islamists, if any.
If the U.S. can create the conditions for such a public demonstration of the history and extent of jihadist killing and infiltration, it would arm the people of Pakistan with unerring proof about who is their real enemy. It would be a boost to their sense of survival. It would demonstrate that the US is looking out for them. They would be able to take these feelings to the polls.
Historically, Pakistanis have never voted for religious fanatics. Today the U.S. must use an international panel to remind them that the reason they have never voted Islamist is because Islamists do not care for Pakistani lives. This kind of gesture will give resolve to the people of Pakistan. When facing the kind of terrorism Pakistanis do every day, resolve is the most important thing.
So that’s all it will take: if the U.S. abandons Musharraf and sponsors an independent investigation into Bhutto’s death, the Pakistani jihad will melt away. The 46% who registered approval for bin Laden as recently as September will vanish, and the the 9% who said they had a favorable view of George W. Bush will skyrocket. The 74% who said they opposed “U.S. military action against al Qaeda and the Taliban inside Pakistan” will begin, presumably, to change their minds.
I wish it were that simple. Unfortunately, Andrew McCarthy was far closer to the mark when he wrote yesterday:
The real Pakistan is a breeding ground of Islamic holy war where, for about half the population, the only thing more intolerable than Western democracy is the prospect of a faux democracy led by a woman “” indeed, a product of feudal Pakistani privilege and secular Western breeding whose father, President Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto, had been branded as an enemy of Islam by influential Muslim clerics in the early 1970s.
The real Pakistan is a place where the intelligence services are salted with Islamic fundamentalists: jihadist sympathizers who, during the 1980s, steered hundreds of millions in U.S. aid for the anti-Soviet mujahideen to the most anti-Western Afghan fighters “” warlords like Gilbuddin Hekmatyar whose Arab allies included bin Laden and Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the stalwarts of today”s global jihad against America.
The real Pakistan is a place where the military, ineffective and half-hearted though it is in combating Islamic terror, is the thin line between today”s boiling pot and what tomorrow is more likely to be a jihadist nuclear power than a Western-style democracy.
Search the archives here and you will find abundant confirmation of all these points. And the most obvious reason why the Pakistani jihad will not evanesce if Musharraf goes away is that it existed before him, and has been gaining in strength and influence ever since the founding of Pakistan — and particularly around the time Benazir Bhutto’s father was murdered by the Zia al-Haq regime, which introduced numerous Sharia provisions into Pakistani law.