News that Raymond Davis is CIA could further jeopardize his return
The news that Raymond Davis, the American being held in Pakistan for a double murder, is a CIA agent that previously worked for Blackwater adds public pressure on Pakistan not to release him.
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'Pakistan is not Egypt'
Just how much to push Pakistan has long posed a key challenge to US policymakers partly because of fears in Washington about the country’s stability.Skip to next paragraph
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Vice President Joe Biden created a stir recently by grouping Pakistan within the wave of unrest sweeping across the Muslim world in an interview with PBS’s NewsHour. When asked about it, Prime Minister Yousaf Gillani rejected the comparison, saying: “Our institutions are working and democracy is functional.”
The issue has picked up steam, however, with politician Imran Khan saying Pakistan is ripe for revolution, which could be triggered by repatriating Davis.
“Along with periodic, if not regular elections and a quasi-independent judiciary, Pakistan also has viable political parties. Internal democracy in these parties may be sorely lacking, but they do provide avenues for political association and mobilization,” writes Dr. Ganguly.
At the same time as these democratic institutions give some vent to popular sentiment, the nation’s powerful Army provides a check on political movements. Pakistanis have never had the chance to vote an elected government out of power, notes Ganguly, due to military dictatorships.
While JI and the militant group Jamaat-ud-Dawa have talked about mass uprisings if Davis is handed back to the Americans, the Army wouldn’t allow it to get out of hand and neither group would cross the Army, says Wilson John, a Pakistan expert at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.
And the blame goes to....
For all the frustration among Pakistanis about their government’s complicity with the US, Mr. Gillani’s civilian government – not the military leaders who approve US cooperative deals – gets most of the blame.
“Pakistan is in a transitional phase where the people have started realizing how much influence they can have on the affairs and the policies of the government,” says Mr. Rahman. If Gillani hands over Davis, that “will certainly influence the next elections” slated for 2013.
Ms. Curtis, however, sees some potential dangers from the popular unhappiness over Pakistani cooperation with the US. She doesn’t see an Egypt-like uprising, but she worries about an emboldening of anti-US elements in the Pakistani security forces.
“I see more a [potential] failure of senior military leadership being able to rein in those elements and succumbing to that overall feeling of ‘We don’t need the US, let’s go our own way.’ And then you have a much more insular, extremist mindset ruling the country,” she says.