Musharraf Nearly Blown Up
On any other day it would be front-page news. As Dawn notes, General Pervez Musharraf, who styles himself president of Pakistan, was very nearly killed by a powerful bomb on a bridge to Rawalpindi that went off just after his convoy had passed over it. Musharraf has in recent days cracked down much harder than ever before on the jihadi groups in Pakistan, and they have vowed to kill him. Indeed, the no. 2 in al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, openly called for Musharraf’s assassination in a tape broadcast on al-Jazeerah. Likewise, Musharraf has made major peace overtures to India, which are deeply unpopular with the jihadis.
Musharraf is a secularist by instinct (he grew up partially in Turkey when his father was a diplomat at the Pakistani embassy in Ankara), and has proven a valuable US ally since September 11. The Pakistani military has arrested some 500 al-Qaeda members who fled to the country from Afghanistan, and has turned most of these, including Khalid Shaikh Muhammad and Abu Zubayda, over to the United States.
Pakistan is a nuclear power, and were Musharraf to be killed and replaced by an Islamist general, that development could throw South Asia and Afghanistan into turmoil and threaten the security of the US. The incident is a reminder that despite the arrest near Tikrit, the world remains a dangerous place for the US and its allies.