Monday, May 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

China sour as USA ‘manages’ Pak
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 26
Pakistan and its President Pervez Musharraf are currently being “micro-managed” by the USA, something which is not going unnoticed by China, Islamabad’s “all-weather friend”.

The China factor will be important in US-Pakistan relations in the coming weeks as Islamabad is gradually but steadily being put in a cleft stick situation, wherein the Musharraf regime’s balancing act between Washington and Beijing is threatening to go awry, diplomatic observers here said today.

General Musharraf is likely to address his nation tomorrow or day after — his second in four-and-a-half months — wherein he is expected to apprise the world community of concrete actions being taken by him to stop cross-border terrorism against India and infiltration of terrorists into India from Pakistan. General Musharraf is also expected to warn India against any “misadventurism”.

Sources said the proposed address by General Musharraf, if it indeed takes place, is demonstrative of Pakistan’s “micro-management” by the USA. The earlier example of this was his January 12 speech which was made largely because of US pressure. Unlike his January 12 speech in which he had promised the moon but failed to deliver, this time it will not be easy for Pakistan and its military ruler to wriggle out of the situation.

This time, the American spy satellites would be focused along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Americans would be monitoring the situation closely to assess whether Pakistan puts a stop to infiltration and running of terrorist training camps or not. General Musharraf’s bluff would be called if he fails to deliver on his promises this time.

Sources pointed out that the Indian leadership has categorically told the world community, particularly the USA, that this time “deeds and not words” will be the sole factor for India to judge Pakistan. Only after New Delhi is convinced that Pakistan has effectively turned off the terror tap, would it take a decision on military de-escalation.

Beijing, already upset by General Musharraf’s decision to hand over four Pakistani airbases to the USA in the post-September 11 scenario, would be watching very keenly how Pak-US relations shape up. It is a between-the-devil- and-the-deep- sea scenario for Islamabad, believe Pakistan-watchers.

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