05 November, 2006

President Musharraf under pressure

In the wake of the recent madrassa attack, the Sunday Telegraph examines Pakistani President Musharraf's political difficulties. Assassination attempts have been made not only by Islamic terrorists, but also by Air Force officers opposed to Musharraf's support for the War on Terror. Indeed, 50 arrests, including many Air Force officers, followed the assassination attempt last September. The omens for survival are not good:

A rattled Gen Musharraf has called a meeting with his closest confidants this week to review personal security.

While he relies on the armed forces to keep him in power, loyalty among the military's lower tiers has become increasingly in doubt because of the perception that he has "sold out" Pakistan to the US and its western allies.

Publicly, officials close to the president deny that he faces any challenge from within the forces.

But privately they now admit that the personal threat against him is becoming "heavier and heavier", and are predicting serious fall-out from Monday's helicopter strike at the madrassa in the village of Chinagai, 100 miles north of -Peshawar.

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