Musharraf 'Wins' his Court Case

Rick Moran
It's pretty easy to triumph if you stack the deck in your favor:

Pakistan's Supreme Court, packed with government-friendly judges since the imposition of emergency rule, dismissed on Monday the main challenges to President Pervez Musharraf's re-election last month.

Once the court clears Musharraf's October 6 victory, he has vowed to quit as army chief and become a civilian president, although he remains under fire from the opposition and Western allies for setting back democracy in nuclear-armed Pakistan.

A bench of 10 judges struck down the five main challenges to Musharraf's right to contest the election while still army chief. The sixth and final petition will be heard on Thursday. "The notification of the president's election cannot be issued because a petition is still pending.
 
"Hopefully, it will be done after that," Attorney-General Malik Qayyum told Reuters.
Even though the Pakistani constitution specifically prohibits a serving military officer from running for President, the Supremes in Pakistan seem to have overlooked that little detail and are about ready to certify Musharraf's election anyway.

The next question is will Musharraf keep his promise and resign from the army?

In 2001, he made such a promise to the religious parties with whom he brokered a parliamentary alliance so that they would legitimize his 1999 coup by electing him president. Somehow or other, Musharraf forgot he made that promise because, of course, he never resigned. Now the opposition is supposed to believe him when he swears he will resign as Chief of Staff?

Meanwhile, the US is making an end run around Musharraf and trying to deal directly with the Tribes in the troubled Northwest Frontier Provinces, seeking to arm them - much like we armed the Sunni tribes in Iraq -
to fight al-Qaeda:

A new and classified American military proposal outlines an intensified effort to enlist tribal leaders in the frontier areas of Pakistan in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as part of a broader effort to bolster Pakistani forces against an expanding militancy, American military officials said.

If adopted, the proposal would join elements of a shift in strategy that would also be likely to expand the presence of American military trainers in Pakistan, directly finance a separate tribal paramilitary force that until now has proved largely ineffective and pay militias that agreed to fight Al Qaeda and foreign extremists, officials said. The United States now has only about 50 troops in Pakistan, a Pentagon spokesman said, a force that could grow by dozens under the new approach.

The proposal is modeled in part on a similar effort by American forces in Anbar Province in Iraq that has been hailed as a great success in fighting foreign insurgents there. But it raises the question of whether such partnerships, to be forged in this case by Pakistani troops backed by the United States, can be made without a significant American military presence in Pakistan. And it is unclear whether enough support can be found among the tribes, some of which are working with Pakistan's intelligence agency.
Obviously, Pakistan is not Iraq. And the tribes we wish to deal with are extraordinarily mistrustful of outsiders, more likely to kill them than work with them.

Still, cash and weapons - which seem to be the currency in which the tribes place the most stock - may help make a difference in some areas. At this point, any help against the Taliban and al-Qaeda would be welcome given their continued infiltration into Afghanistan and their attempt to overthrow the government in Kabul.
It's pretty easy to triumph if you stack the deck in your favor:

Pakistan's Supreme Court, packed with government-friendly judges since the imposition of emergency rule, dismissed on Monday the main challenges to President Pervez Musharraf's re-election last month.

Once the court clears Musharraf's October 6 victory, he has vowed to quit as army chief and become a civilian president, although he remains under fire from the opposition and Western allies for setting back democracy in nuclear-armed Pakistan.

A bench of 10 judges struck down the five main challenges to Musharraf's right to contest the election while still army chief. The sixth and final petition will be heard on Thursday. "The notification of the president's election cannot be issued because a petition is still pending.
 
"Hopefully, it will be done after that," Attorney-General Malik Qayyum told Reuters.
Even though the Pakistani constitution specifically prohibits a serving military officer from running for President, the Supremes in Pakistan seem to have overlooked that little detail and are about ready to certify Musharraf's election anyway.

The next question is will Musharraf keep his promise and resign from the army?

In 2001, he made such a promise to the religious parties with whom he brokered a parliamentary alliance so that they would legitimize his 1999 coup by electing him president. Somehow or other, Musharraf forgot he made that promise because, of course, he never resigned. Now the opposition is supposed to believe him when he swears he will resign as Chief of Staff?

Meanwhile, the US is making an end run around Musharraf and trying to deal directly with the Tribes in the troubled Northwest Frontier Provinces, seeking to arm them - much like we armed the Sunni tribes in Iraq -
to fight al-Qaeda:

A new and classified American military proposal outlines an intensified effort to enlist tribal leaders in the frontier areas of Pakistan in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as part of a broader effort to bolster Pakistani forces against an expanding militancy, American military officials said.

If adopted, the proposal would join elements of a shift in strategy that would also be likely to expand the presence of American military trainers in Pakistan, directly finance a separate tribal paramilitary force that until now has proved largely ineffective and pay militias that agreed to fight Al Qaeda and foreign extremists, officials said. The United States now has only about 50 troops in Pakistan, a Pentagon spokesman said, a force that could grow by dozens under the new approach.

The proposal is modeled in part on a similar effort by American forces in Anbar Province in Iraq that has been hailed as a great success in fighting foreign insurgents there. But it raises the question of whether such partnerships, to be forged in this case by Pakistani troops backed by the United States, can be made without a significant American military presence in Pakistan. And it is unclear whether enough support can be found among the tribes, some of which are working with Pakistan's intelligence agency.
Obviously, Pakistan is not Iraq. And the tribes we wish to deal with are extraordinarily mistrustful of outsiders, more likely to kill them than work with them.

Still, cash and weapons - which seem to be the currency in which the tribes place the most stock - may help make a difference in some areas. At this point, any help against the Taliban and al-Qaeda would be welcome given their continued infiltration into Afghanistan and their attempt to overthrow the government in Kabul.