The new government in Pakistan is making the right noises.
Promoting polyarchy in Pakistan (see http://www.rupeenews.com) has been a huge success. US officials insist that the ground realities will not change despite the new nuances out of Islamabad.
The new government has suggested that Pakistan and the United States will hold their third round of strategic dialogue in June in Washington. The third round of talks will held in June in Washington as the on the U.S. US insistence on early dialogue. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher are visiting the country to indoctrinate the new government on the issues that need to be discussed.
The New York Times says
The A.N.P., a Pashtun nationalist party, and Pakistan’s militants speak the same language. Talks between them have already begun quietly, as some militant groups and their supporters send messages and emissaries to the newly elected parties, said Afrasiab Khattak, A.N.P.’s secretary general here. “They saw a government coming with a new paradigm, with a plan that is not just bombarding,” he said.
The A.N.P. says its priority is ending the violence. Like its partners in the national government — the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-N — it backs relying less on the military to cut civilian casualties, which have soured Pakistanis on the war. To do so, it proposes development in the tribal areas and a sustained dialogue that, it hopes, will answer many grievances with the government that have pushed ethnic groups toward the militants.
The military must work with the new political forces in the government and with the United States, NATO and other international players, Mr. Khattak said.
“Only if there is a triangle with us, the army and the international community will it work,” he said. “If it works, then there is some hope.”
Test for Pakistan alliance with US Danny Kemp and Isambard Wilkinson, Islamabad, March 27, 2008
PAKISTAN'S new Government will review the country's role in the US-led war on terror, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has said after talks with American officials.
Deputy US Secretary of State John Negroponte and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher flew into Islamabad on Tuesday for talks focusing on Pakistan's co-operation in efforts against al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.
They met President Pervez Musharraf and Mr Sharif, and were due to see new Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, a senior aide of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.
Mr Sharif, whose party is in the governing coalition, said he had told Mr Negroponte that Mr Musharraf should quit and that a parliamentary committee would examine his policies since he backed the US campaign in 2001.
"We discussed terrorism. We informed them our point of view is that since 9/11 all decisions were made by one man," Mr Sharif, ousted by Musharraf in a coup in 1999, told reporters in Islamabad.
"Now the situation has changed, a truly representative parliament has come into being … Every decision will be presented before the parliament. They will review Musharraf's policy in the past six years."
Mr Sharif said a lack of public support for Mr Musharraf and his policies, coupled with the deaths of civilians in anti-militant operations, had harmed efforts to curb extremism.
"We want to see peace in every corner of the world and we want to see peace in Pakistan also," he said. "We do not want that in order to give peace to others we turn our own country into a murder house."
Mr Sharif's comments came as a senior former Musharraf ally said the US and Britain's "failure" in Afghanistan had sparked a wave of violence in Pakistan.
Lieutenant-General Ali Muhammad Jan Orakzai resigned earlier this year as governor of the restive North-West Frontier Province on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
General Orakzai said US demands for Pakistan "to do more, more and more" had led to the military bombing its own citizens in the border areas, prompting a "war of resistance".
He said the West had "greatly exaggerated" the threat posed by al-Qaeda in the tribal areas.
General Orakzai, a Pashtun from the tribal areas, was reportedly asked to resign as governor after brokering a controversial peace agreement in North Waziristan. US officials said the deal had led to a threefold increase in cross-border infiltration of militants from Pakistan to Afghanistan and allegedly leant on Mr Musharraf to remove him.