Monday, December 27, 2004

Mutinous military frustrates Pakistan's efforts against Al Qaeda

30 More Pakistani Troops to Get Death Penalty for Indiscipline:
"The Army prosecutors who did not want to publicly admit that largescale defiance had taken place in South Waziristan where the Army had been deployed against the tribesmen, merged the indiscipline charges against these troops with the assassination attempts on General Musharraf and sought death sentences for the accused.
"According to these sources the South Waziristan operation had turned out to be biggest dent in Army discipline when several units declined to be posted in South Waziristan and dozens of troops refused to continue the fight against tribes. The Army top brass was shaken and most of these troops were recalled from the front line."

So reports MT Butt writing in the online South Asia Tribune published in London. Previously, the head of armed forces public relations had confirmed to Asia Times that one sepoy had been sentenced to death and another to ten years imprisonment in courts martial in October related to the assassination attempt against Gen. Pervez Musharraf in December 2003. Now it appears that there are a further 30 soldiers awaiting trial on similar charges and that the offenses primarily concern refusal to fight in the tribal areas of South Waziristan and have only a tenuous connection to the assassination plot.

South Waziristan is one of the areas where it is thought Al Qaeda leaders, perhaps including UBL himself, may have found refuge. Gen. Musharraf has been walking a tightrope knowing that these people are his enemies as well as ours, but fearful of losing support at home if he appears to be acting as a tool of US policy. This story gives us new insight into the difficulties he faces.

Follow the link to read the full list of charges against the man who was convicted and sentenced to death on October 20.


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