Urdu Press Blames US for Crisis

While Gen. Musharraf maintains that he was forced to make his most recent coup by the threat of Muslim extremism, many of Pakistan’s Urdu newspapers have a different interpretation. They suggest in their editorials that the Bush administration’s pressure on Musharraf to move in an uncompromising way against Muslim fundamentalists sharpened the contradictions in Pakistani society and provoked the current crisis. That is, they think it is America’s fault for denying to the Pakistani government the option of compromise and so pushing the country toward polarization and the coup. Below, the USG Open Source Center translates or paraphrases three such editorials.

‘Pakistan: Urdu Press Roundup on Latest Situation in Swat, Tribal Areas 4 Nov
Pakistan — OSC Summary
Monday, November 5, 2007

The following is a roundup of excerpts from editorials on the situation prevailing in Swat and Federally Administered Tribal Areas, published in the 4 November 2007 editions of three Urdu dailies:

Jang[:] Editorial Criticizes Delayed Action by Government

Maintaining that the government remained a silent spectator when the Taliban leaders were organizing their followers, the editorial states “The situation in the Tribal Areas is at such a point that the holding of a roundtable conference comprising of influential people from the area; elite, social figures; and leaders of political and religious parties, particularly the people linked with Tableeghi Jamaat [Tablighi Jama'at, a quietist Muslim group aiming at bringing fallen-away Muslims back into the fold], can yield positive results. Blood is being spilled in this area, both of the militants and the security personnel — the blood of Pakistani citizens and Muslims. An attempt should be made to stop this bloodshed. For this, we should not hesitate from using well-established and in-vogue practices.”

Jinnah[:] Editorial Sees Islamic World Facing ‘Internal Disruption’ Due to US Policy on Terrorism:

Asserting that the situation in the Tribal Areas has been brewing up for quite sometime, and the United States has been seeking to create internal disturbances in the country as a result of its war on terrorism, the editorial comments: “All energies need to be harnessed to establish peace in a haven like Swat to shatter the designs of the enemies of the country. The dialogue process should be moved forward on the basis of the four-point proposal of Maulana Fazalullah [an extremist leader whose father, Sufi Muhammad, is in prison for joining the Taliban to fight the Americans in 2001] so that the spilling of the blood of Muslims can come to end. This bloodshed is not in the interests of the country or the nation.”

Islam[:] Editorial Calls for Ending Cooperation With US on War on Terrorism

Holding the cooperation of the government with the United States in its war on terrorism responsible for the situation in Tribal Areas, the editorial says “The fire that broke out in Baluchistan has now reached Swat, and the indications are that it will continue to spread. It must be contained at this point. We should tell the United States that we can offer no more sacrifices, and that it should fight its war on its own. The United States has plunged us into a ‘quagmire’ where the security and integrity of the country are at stake, not to speak of the holding of elections. How can elections be held at a time when explosions are taking place all around? How will the people be able to leave their homes and vote? The war of the United States, due to which the entire nation is in the grip of bomb blasts and suicide attacks, cannot be fought at the cost of the country’s integrity.” ‘