US: Pakistan Gov’t May Collapse in 2 Weeks
1 May 09 | PTV
A top US commander warns that Islamabad government risks collapsing if the Taliban militants are not defeated within next two weeks.
Gen. David Petraeus, commander of US Central Command, said in an interview that “next two weeks were critical to determining whether the Pakistani government could survive” in face of militancy.
Petraeus said he was looking for concrete action from the Islamabad government to defeat the Taliban in the next days before determining the United States’ subsequent course of action.
However, the general noted that the Pakistani army was more powerful than the civilian government and that armed forces would shield the nuclear instillations from the Taliban.
This is while, Pentagon generals believe that even if Pakistani President Asef Ali Zardari’s government fall, it is still conceivable that Pakistan’s army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani, could maintain control over the country to shield the nuclear instillations from the Taliban.
Also, earlier US President Barack Obama in a speech on Wednesday kept Islamabad’s civilians government to a very small size besides giving the Pakistani army much more importance.
Washington has also hinted it would initiate secondary back-door plans to take over the Pakistani nukes in the event of any exigencies in the face of the insurgents’ advances across the violence-hit country.
The developments come as recently the Taliban were planning to infiltrate into Islamabad and other major cities across the nuclear-armed Pakistan.
The government security forces have launched an operation to flush out the militants from strategic districts near Islamabad.
The Taliban insurgents held the districts two weeks ago and had refused to leave the areas despite repeated calls by the Islamabad government.
Pakistan People Party (PPP) led government in Islamabad says it wants to initiate a national consensus policy to fight against terrorism in the troubled region.
Pakistan government has dismissed US concerns over nukes, saying Islamabad has full control over the country’s nuclear installations.
Islamabad has repeatedly said that unwise White House policies were strengthening the Taliban and spreading extremism in the volatile region.
Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani says foreign elements may be behind the recent violence in the country’s largest city, Karachi.
Speaking to reporters, Gilani said the possibility of foreign nationals’ involvement in the recent incident was strong, and called for a joint strategy to foil the conspiracy.
“The government would take strict action against anyone who challenges its writ and violates the law,” a Press TV correspondent quoted him as saying.
Gilani also stressed, “We have constituted a special committee who will investigate the matter.”
The remarks came as violence continues unabated in the metropolis with the death toll topping 35, leaving 50 others severely injured.
All major markets and bazaars in the city remain closed and public traffic is largely off the road.
Violence erupted in some parts of Karachi on Wednesday when three activists of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), one of the major political parties in the city, were shot dead in ethnic clashes with Pashtun community.
This is while up to 15 police stations across Karachi have come under attack in the wake of violence. The Interior Minister Rehman Malik has also increased the deployment of security forces to restore calm in the southern port city.
Karachi — Pakistan’s financial capital — has a long history of ethnic, religious and sectarian skirmishes. The city is dominated by Mohajirs, Urdu-speaking people who migrated from India after Pakistan was created in 1947, but there is also a sizeable population of ethnic Pashtuns.