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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06ISLAMABAD11740
2006-06-21 08:22:00
SECRET//NOFORN
Embassy Islamabad
Cable title:  

POLITICAL SCENESETTER FOR DOD U/S RYAN HENRY'S

Tags:   PK  PREL  PGOV  MASS 
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VZCZCXRO5748
PP RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHPW
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ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 210822Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2291
INFO RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ALMATY PRIORITY 9499
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT PRIORITY 0735
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK PRIORITY 3697
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 0813
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 1551
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE PRIORITY
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 5615
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 6668
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 8673
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT PRIORITY 1415
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 1553
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 9146
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 7039
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHWSMRC/USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
						S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 ISLAMABAD 011740 

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/20/2016
TAGS: PK PREL PGOV MASS
SUBJECT: POLITICAL SCENESETTER FOR DOD U/S RYAN HENRY'S
VISIT TO PAKISTAN

Classified By: DCM Peter W. Bodde, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (S) Embassy Islamabad welcomes your June 25-28 visit to
Islamabad. Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf and Prime
Minister Shaukat Aziz are western-oriented modernizers who
are trying to move Pakistan toward Musharraf's goal of
"enlightened moderation." Both viewed President Bush,s March
visit to Pakistan as a landmark in the bilateral
relationship. In the past six months, Pakistan's leaders
have survived the Danish cartoon controversy; engaged in
suppressing violent separatists in Balochistan while also
combating al-Qaeda and domestic Islamic extremists in the
tribal areas along the Afghan border; and transitioned from
the winter's earthquake relief operations to long-term
reconstruction. Pakistan remains a tough public diplomacy
environment, despite the public's positive response to
generous USG assistance in the earthquake relief effort.

U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Partnership


--------------------------




2. (S) During his March 2006 visit, President Bush launched
a U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Partnership. This initiative has
been institutionalized in the framework of a strategic
dialogue addressing economic growth and prosperity, energy
cooperation, peace and security, social sector development,
science and technology, democracy, and non-proliferation.
The inaugural meeting of the strategic dialogue held in
Washington from April 26-27 was a step forward in reassuring
Pakistan of the breadth and depth of our long-term commitment.



3. (S) In the wake of the media glare surrounding the
U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Initiative, Pakistan,s military and
political class have been wracked by a bout of insecurity and
"me too-ism." Some government officials have complained
privately that the U.S. has created a public perception that
it is distancing itself from President Musharraf. Coupled
with public remarks by American and other western officials
suggesting that Pakistan could do more in the Global War on
Terror (GWOT), Pakistani sensitivities are particularly
attuned to any hint of American criticism.

Global War on Terror


--------------------------




4. (S) FATA: Pakistan deserves commendation for standing
with us in the GWOT, including its efforts to deny al Qaeda
and other extremist elements safe haven in Pakistan's untamed
tribal areas along the Afghan border. Following the
Government of Pakistan's (GOP) decision to extend central
government control into the FATA (historically a "no go"
region for government forces), we have regularly encouraged
Pakistani security forces to stay the course in the face of
armed resistance. As the security situation in both North
and South Waziristan continued to deteriorate in late

2005-early 2006, the GOP was forced to rethink its FATA
strategy. Between March and May 2006, President Musharraf
and his advisors articulated a new three-pronged strategy to
extend the government's writ into the FATA, comprising
political initiatives, economic development and military
operations that are faster, leaner and more targeted than in
the past. We have offered to assist Pakistan's economic
development efforts in the FATA and to provide training for
rapid strike capabilities as it realigns its military tactics.



5. (C) Crackdown on Extremism: In the aftermath of the July
7, 2005 London bombings, President Musharraf cracked down on
domestic extremist organizations with much public fanfare,
arresting the usual suspects and proposing strict regulation
of Pakistan,s religious schools (madrassas). As with
previous crackdowns, the government ultimately released most
detainees and walked back many of the regulations on madrassa
operations. Although we are still assessing whether the
President has the will to hold the line against Pakistan's
extremist elements for the long run, we believe that
Musharraf's crackdown moved the ball forward...albeit with

ISLAMABAD 00011740 002 OF 004


many fall-backs along the way. Aside from the crackdown's
uneven record, President Musharraf has been a consistent and
vocal advocate of "enlightened moderation," in which he
espouses a moderate and tolerant Islam for Pakistan as it
finds its place within a globalized world.



6. (C) Extremism (cont): The U.S. consistently presses
senior GOP officials to act decisively against the
operational leaders of terrorist and extremist organizations,
including those which were involved in earthquake relief
efforts in northern Pakistan. We have also encouraged GOP
officials to take action against those madrassas that
support, recruit for, or shelter these organizations.

Domestic Issues


--------------------------




7. (S) Balochistan: Pakistani leaders are also struggling
to cope with an insurgency in the resource-rich province of
Balochistan, as local Baloch tribesmen seek to redress
historic grievances against Pakistan and seize a greater
share of their provincial patrimony. President Musharraf has
swung back and forth between civilian advisors who are
counseling a negotiated settlement, and military advisors who
view the insurgency as an Indian-sponsored threat to national
unity that must be suppressed. At the moment, the pendulum
has swung toward the military option. This has clear
implications for the military's ability to pursue shared
U.S.-Pakistan objectives in the FATA and in the GWOT.
Pakistani security forces are already over-stretched along
the Afghan border, in North and South Waziristan and in
managing periodic domestic civil unrest, such as the cartoon
controversy and sectarian tensions. An escalation in armed
conflict in Balochistan would create an inauspicious
political environment in the run-up to national elections
next year.



8. (C) Democracy: President Musharraf has committed -
publicly and privately - to move Pakistan toward a
civilian-led democracy by the next national elections, which
must be held by 2007. The government, which must address
many organizational issues before the 2007 national
elections, took an important initial step with the March 2006
appointment of a permanent, independent election commissioner
acceptable to all mainstream parties. The two largest
opposition parties (Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party
(PPP) and Nawaz Sharif,s Pakistan Muslim League) Nawaz
(PML-N) ) have entered into a highly-publicized
Charter for Democracy aimed at defeating the Musharraf
government at the polls. Given the long years of animosity
between Bhutto and Sharif, this alliance may prove to be more
political theater than a serious threat to Musharraf and the
governing PML.



9. (C) Military v. Civilian Government: In April 2005, the
local media stirred up a frenzy following a statement by a
senior USG official that the United States believes in
civilian leadership of the military, reading it as one more
signal that the U.S. was distancing itself from President
Musharraf. While these remarks reflect a fundamental
principal of U.S. policy, we advise USG officials to also
underscore in their public and private remarks our strong
relationship with President Musharraf and our appreciation
for his contributions in the war on terror, his efforts to
improve relations with India, and for the steps he has taken
to advance democracy in Pakistan.



10. (SBU) Building Democratic Institutions: At the
operational level, USAID supports democratization efforts
with programs to promote institutional development of the
courts, the legislatures, and the political parties. USAID
and State are in the process of finalizing a USG-funded
strategy to promote free and fair elections in 2007.

The Neighborhood

ISLAMABAD 00011740 003 OF 004




--------------------------




11. (S) Afghanistan: The roller-coaster relationship
between Afghanistan and Pakistan continues to suffer from
mutual suspicion and recrimination, with Afghans concerned
about cross-border infiltration and Pakistan obsessed by the
prospect of India using its diplomatic assets in Afghanistan
to foment instability in Balochistan. President Musharraf
and most governmental and military leaders recognize that
Pakistan must support the Karzai government's efforts to
solidify its control over the country. To that end, the
Government is committed to cooperating on operational
security matters with the Afghan government and coalition
forces through regular Tripartite Commission meetings.



12. (S) Afghanistan (cont): That said, Musharraf and
Karzai (and their subordinates) have had difficulty
restraining themselves from engaging in regular bouts of
destructive public rhetoric, in which each blames the other
for not doing enough to effectively prosecute the battle
against their common enemies in the tribal areas along the
border. More disturbing is that a good number of Pakistani
officials remain piqued by the ascendency of Northern
Alliance leaders following the U.S. rout of the Taliban in
2001; some now nurture a quasi-public schadenfreude as the
Pashtun Taliban has re-emerged in Afghanistan's southern and
eastern provinces.



13. (S) India/Kashmir: President Musharraf and his senior
advisors have consistently told us they have made a strategic
decision to end the militancy. Musharraf believes the GOP's
ability to control Kashmiri militants will be greatly
enhanced if there is measurable progress with India on
Kashmir. He has specifically pushed for a withdrawal of
Indian forces from key population centers in
Indian-administered Kashmir (a demand viewed with great
skepticism in Delhi). Musharraf has privately signaled
flexibility on the final status of Kashmir, but in public
remains steadfast in rejecting the Line of Control (LOC) as a
permanent international boundary. Indian Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh has said that New Delhi is not afraid to
discuss pragmatic solutions to make the LOC less-relevant in
people's lives, but has also chided Pakistan for holding
normalization of bilateral relations hostage to a final
resolution of the Kashmir dispute.



14. (S) India/Kashmir (cont): India has long resisted the
involvement of third parties in settling the Kashmir issue,
and Pakistani leaders understand that any move toward a
direct mediating role by the U.S. would be counterproductive.
President Musharraf was pleased by President Bush's
even-handed statements about the need for good relations
between India and Pakistan and for a peaceful resolution of
the dispute on terms acceptable to Pakistan, India, and the
people of Kashmir.



15. (C) India/Kashmir (cont): Although there has been
little progress on core issues relating to Kashmir (including
the Siachen Glacier), senior Indian and Pakistani officials
meet regularly through the Composite Dialogue framework,
which has produced some confidence-building measures,
including a pre-notification agreement for ballistic missile
launches and the opening of bus and train routes between the
two countries. After 17 years, India and Pakistan have also
revived the Joint Commission to provide a forum for
discussions on technical issues such as science and
technology, information technology, telecommunications, and
tourism. Although delegations travel to/from Islamabad and
New Delhi weekly, Pakistani negotiators work within strict
parameters, as the GOP balances its desire to normalize the
relationship with its fear of being accused of "giving" India
too much via CBMs without first securing an
advantageous resolution of the Kashmir question.



16. (S) Iran: Pakistan has a long and complicated

ISLAMABAD 00011740 004 OF 004


relationship with its neighbor Iran. GOP officials often
allude to Pakistan's vulnerability to Iranian trouble-making,
citing the influence of co-religionists governing in Tehran
on Pakistan,s sizable Shi'a community (approximately 20
percent of the population). The GOP has walked a tightrope
in response to the current crisis over Iran's nuclear
program, calling for all parties to abide by their
international obligations and to pursue a negotiated
resolution. Privately, Prime Minister Aziz and Foreign
Minister Kasuri recognize that continued conflict over Iran's
nuclear program has the potential to destabilize the region.
Both have urged their Iranian counterparts to take the EU-3
and U.S. proposals seriously and begin negotiations forthwith.



17. (C) China: In contrast to their perception of the
U.S., many GOP officials -- civilian and military -- view
China as Pakistan's "reliable" friend. Many Pakistanis
continue to view China through a Cold War halo, viewing
Beijing as a bulwark protecting Pakistan from an expansionist
India. In contrast, current Chinese outreach to Pakistan
sticks to the bottom line of business, without sermonizing
about democracy, human rights or Islamic extremism. China is
well regarded by the Pakistan public for its high-profile
investments in Pakistan's infrastructure (the Karakoram
Highway, the current development of port facilities in
Gwardar and energy resources in Balochistan), as well as for
its economic prowess. Chinese military sales --
unencumbered by the Congressional notifications and rigorous
releasability reviews that characterize U.S. defense sales --
are often sweetened by attractive financing arrangements.
Even so, Pakistani military officials candidly admit that
they get what they pay for with Chinese arms and
equipment...and that they would often prefer to buy American,
but for the expense and political hurdles.


CROCKER