Thursday, May 7, 2009

30% chance of coup in Pakistan, according to analysts

WASHINGTON: A top private risk analysis firm gave embattled Pakistan a three-in-ten chance of a military coup even before the latest offensive by Taliban rebels, according to a noted US analyst.

New York-based Eurasiagroup, whose head of research is top former State Department, White House National Security Council and CIA official David F Gordon, said in a little noticed, late April report that it was more than possible the Pakistani Army would step in to stabilise the rebel-threatened country.

The premise of Eurasiagroup's "scenario" is that "the global economic crisis proves too much to handle for the political leadership in Pakistan", writes Jeff Stein, National Security Editor of Congressional Quarterly in his "SpyTalk" column.

The report was evidently written before Islamic Taliban rebels overran the Swat Valley this month, forcing the army into barricaded camps and threatening the viability of the government of President Asif Ali Zardari, he noted adding, "Presumably, the risk of a military coup is far greater now."

Before that, the Eurasia report gave the nation a "30 percent" chance of losing its elected government to an army general like Pervez Musharaf, who seized power in 1999, and his predecessor, Gen. Zia Ul-Haq, who led the country from 1977 until his fatal plane crash in 1988.

"As in the 1990s, the military concludes that it must intervene in politics for the sake of the nation-to stop the spread of militancy, revitalize the economy, and clean up civilian politics," the report envisioned.

"New Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kiyani had sought to distance the military from politics, but the political crisis between the PPP (Pakistan People's Party) and the PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) boosts the military's political clout and its willingness to intervene."

"Kiyani does not pursue a full-fledged military coup, but rather the 'Bangladesh model.' The military removes President Asif Ali Zardari and his administration and establishes a caretaker government, which it tasks with the job of stabilizing the political and economic situation," the report suggested.

"The military appoints Western-educated technocrats with no independent power base or political connections to serve in the new government. These officials maintain close contacts with Kiyani, who makes all strategic decisions," it said painting the coup scenario.

No comments: