Friday, November 2, 2007

Pakistan: martial law, maybe: connect the dots please


Today there were widespread, although brief, media reports that Pakistan ‘s military president Gen. Pervez Musharraf may be close declaring a state of emergency and martial law, if his Oct. 6 “victory” is not confirmed. A typical story is an AP-CNN “Pakistan militant clash 'kills 70'”here.

Newsweek’s big story on Pakistan (Mark Hosenball and Zahid Hussain, Oct. 29, 2007) talks about the uncertainty of stocks of highly enriched uranium within Pakistan. Various groups like “Last Best Chance” have emphasized accounting for stocks from the former Soviet Union, but most attention to Pakistan has been with existing small nukes, rather than raw materials. All of this seems to make the situation seem even more urgent.

Update Nov. 3


On Saturday morning, Nov. 3, CNN announced that martial law had been implemented in Pakistan, with a "media blackout," and that its constitution had been suspended. The CNN story is here.

Update: Nov. 5

In a story that seems almost comical, an AP writer Munir Ahmad reports today that Pakistani police are attacking lawyers, something that conservative right wingers would relish in the US, maybe. The link is here. The story is also front page on Yahoo!

Remember, "Pakistan" means "Land of the Pure" in Urdu.

Update: Nov. 11, 2007

The AP, in a story by Matthew Rosenberg, reported "Musharraf bows to U.S. calls; emergency to end in a month; Bhutto 'is not free to go'", as carried on page A1 of The Washington Times Nov. 10. However, Jane Perlez and David Rhode report in The New York Times, Nov. 11, "Musharraf Refuses to Give Date for Ending Rule by Decree" although there are supposed to be parliamentary elections in January 2008, story.

But on Sunday, Joby Warrick in The Washington Post, p A1, reports: "Pakistan Nuclear Security Questioned: Lack of Knowledge About Arsenal May Limit U.S. Options," here, to the effect that the United States has never been able to monitor Pakistan's nuclear stash adequately. And in the Outlook Section, Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins have "Those Nuclear Flashpoints Are Made in Pakistan: The fallout from U.S. policy in Pakistan may not be just dictatorship. It could be something worse" -- a mushroom cloud like on the Fox Show "24", story here.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, iaea, in Vienna has a story "Confidence fails to ease fears over nuclear threat" By Farhan Bokhari and Jo Johnson, link here from the London Financial Times, here.

IAEA's home page is here.

Visitors may want to check "A Brief History of Pakistan's Nuclear Program" and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan here. Also the story by Robert Windrem Nov. 6 2007 on MSNBC, "Pakistan's nuclear history worries insiders: 'Nuclear coup' in 1990 and bin Laden meeting offer two chilling precedents" here.

Update: Sunday, Nov 18

David E. Singer and William J. Broad have a major New York Times story today, "U.S. Secretly Aids Pakistan in Guarding Nuclear Arms," for the past six years, link here.
It was also a headline story on AOL today.

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