Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Next Leader of Pakistan?

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has plunged Pakistan into turmoil. Her Pakistan People's Party was always a one-woman band so there is no natural successor to step into her shoes. That leaves Sharif and Musharraf. Of the two, Mushie is probably the strongest but is he strong enough?

What happens if Pakistan falls to a leader the nation cannot adequately support? It may fall back on the time-honoured alternative - military rule. That would mean that Musharraf's own, freshly-minted army leader, Ashfaq Kiyani, could step into his boss's old spot.

Kiyani is not only a career soldier from Punjab but he was also his nation's spymaster as former head of the Interservice Intelligence Agency (ISI). It's widely believed that Musharraf chose Kiyani to take over as head of the armed forces primarily because of his loyalty to Mushie but now that loyalty may be severely tested.

Musharraf's power is waning and, in Pakistan, that's not a good thing when political power is always shared with military power. As Mushie declines, Kiyani's position is ascendant. Some analysts are now of the opinion that, if the unrest against Musharraf isn't quieted soon, the army may "invite" him to step aside so that Kiyani can assume total control.

It's also reported that Kiyani has strong links with Washington so he may been seen as the best option to put down unrest.


Karen said...

As Mushie declines, Kiyani's position is ascendant

With whom? Certainly not the populace.

The US? How can they stop backing their horse in mid-stream?

I do not doubt what you say, I simply do not have the knowledge and would love to learn more.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hey KNB, good to hear from you. Kiyani's political strength isn't drawn from the populace but from his country's perpetual shadow government, the military. Why would the US change horses in mid-stream? Why, given their rich history of just this thing, would you think they wouldn't? Please, don't accept or reject anything I write because I write it. Just use it, if you're interested, to follow it up through any of the terrific search libraries available to all of us today. If I'm wrong, I want you to be the first to show me.

Thanks for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

Her son Biwali was just named leader of the PPP. There's nothing like the thought of a 19 year old with a nuclear arsenal to wake you up on a Sunday morning.