Friday, January 02, 2004

Analysis: Musharraf faces killers' wrath: "Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is on a three- month race against time to stay alive in order to purge his army's senior command. And the most ruthless, determined terrorists in the world are out to kill him before that deadline. On March 23, the annual reassignments of top Pakistani Army commanders are announced. Musharraf agreed in his epochal deal with parliamentary parties Tuesday to step down as army commander at the end of March in order to continue as constitutionally approved president. But before he does that, South Asian intelligence and diplomatic sources say, he is determined to purge the Islamist hard-liners in the army command and the mighty, shadowy Inter-Service Intelligence organization who hold real power in Pakistan. That is why there have been two serious, well-coordinated attempts on the life of the president of Pakistan within two weeks. And there are likely to be more."

"The threat now facing the president of Pakistan is almost unprecedented in modern history. Not since the Secret Army Organization, or OAS repeatedly tried to assassinate French President Charles De Gaulle in the early 1960s for pulling France out of Algeria has any head of state or government anywhere faced anything like it... Possibly the nearest parallel to the determination of Pakistan's hard-line Islamists and the al-Qaida international terrorist organization to assassinate Musharraf before he can purge hard-liners sympathetic to them from key command positions in the army was the fate of Czar Alexander II of Russia in 1880-81."

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