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Musharraf's vulnerability not in US interest

In the expose of transfer of n-technology to other countries, Prez Musharraf is under pressure from the international community, but he continues to suit American interests, says Washington Times.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2004 16:10 IST

In the aftermath of the expose of transfer of nuclear technology to other countries, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is vulnerable and under pressure from the international community, but he continues to suit American interests, said and an article in the Washington Times.

"A stable government led by him (Musharraf) is in America's interests," said the editorial adding: "Although Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan took the entire blame on himself, Musharraf remains vulnerable to his people's anger regarding the whole affair. This vulnerability is significant to the US, because Pakistan's stability is in America's interest."

The editorial pointed out that the impact of recent disclosures regarding Pakistan's nuclear proliferation to other countries, including Iran and Libya, has been felt globally. The situation also has domestic political repercussions for Musharraf.

The editorial concluded: "There is also another political dynamic. Islamic fundamentalists have also been enraged at seeing Dr Khan so publicly debased on national television. This anger is being squarely focused on Musharraf.

Though it remains unclear just which Pakistani leaders share blame for nuclear proliferation, Musharraf is currently the most conspicuous target. This singular blame may not be fair, but it is a political reality. Another political reality is that, for the time being, a stable government led by Musharraf is in America's interests."

Referring to a meeting former prime minister Benazir Bhutto recently had with the editors and reporters of The Washington Times, the paper said she discussed Musharraf and the situation in Pakistan.

"The timing of her media outreach is somewhat telling in, and of, itself, indicating she currently sees political weakness in him," the article said adding that she told the editors that "it's obvious that a deal was done, clearing the Musharraf government of complicity in return for a quick pardon for Dr Khan."

It said that Bhutto's party has a clear intention of keeping the pressure on Musharraf, and this political pressure will weaken
Musharraf's support among mainstream Pakistanis, who are alarmed to see their country exposed internationally as the lead nuclear proliferator.

First Published: Feb 17, 2004 00:00 IST