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Jihadis seek nuclear prize in Pak: WSJ

world Updated: Dec 28, 2007 18:37 IST
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While leading with the Benazir Bhutto assassination story, the US media has commented on how it has put Pakistan as well as US policy in that country in total disarray.

In perhaps the boldest analysis, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has said that in killing Bhutto, the jihadis had targeted Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal.

"With the jihadis losing in Iraq and having a hard time hitting the West, their strategy seems to be to make vulnerable Pakistan their principal target, and its nuclear arsenal their principal prize," the daily says in its editorial on Friday.

Bhutto made for an ideal target, the WSJ editorial says, because "hers is the highest profile scalp the jihadis can claim since their assassination of Egypt's Anwar Sadat in 1981."

She also uniquely combined broad public support with an anti-Islamist, pro-Western outlook and all the symbolism that came with being the most prominent female leader in the Muslim world."

The New York Times said in its editorial that Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have made Pakistan their "most important rear base".

The politically influential paper also observed that Bhutto's elimination leaves the Bush administration with no visible strategy for extricating Pakistan from its crisis or rooting out Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Pointing out that betting America's security and Pakistan's nuclear arsenal on an "unaccountable military dictator" did not work, the paper said the only option President George W Bush has now is to fortify Pakistan's badly battered democratic institutions.

That means, the editorial says, allowing Bhutto's party to choose a new candidate for prime minister and insisting President Pervez Musharraf lets the country's other opposition leader Nawaz Sharif run.

The Times in its editorial refers to its earlier report that much of US military aid to Pakistan meant to fight the extremists has gone "to projects that interested Musharraf and the Pakistani Army more, like building weapons systems aimed at America's ally, India".

The CNN has reported that despite the US presidential candidates disinclined to make the Bhutto assassination a conversation piece, the event has inexorably pushed foreign affairs and the candidate's experience in the field into the campaign, which was so far dominated by economic issues.

The US media has generally speculated on how the latest terror strike in Pakistan would affect the presidential candidates' chances on the Republican and Democrat side, and discussed their positions on tackling the menace of global terrorism.