Center for American Progress

Memo on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s Trip to Pakistan

Memo on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s Trip to Pakistan



To: Interested Parties
From: Bob Boorstin and Jon Sherman

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is visiting Pakistan this week. She has a unique opportunity to press the Pakistani government for further collaboration and concrete changes in its policies. Among the issues and challenges for Rice as she visits with President Pervez Musharraf and other officials are the following:

  • The United States must press Pakistan harder on its nuclear proliferation black market and secure access to A.Q. Khan for the U.S. or the IAEA. Secretary Rice should press the Pakistani government to allow Khan to be questioned by U.S. officials, and secondarily, officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, exploited front companies for the procurement of fissile material and created what has been called a nuclear Walmart. The IAEA has confirmed that Khan helped develop nuclear programs in Libya and North Korea, in addition to supplying uranium enrichment centrifuges to Iran. More disturbing still are IAEA reports that suggest Pakistan continues to seek channels for illicit procurement. President Musharraf has pardoned Khan and shielded him from international scrutiny, refusing the U.S. or IAEA access for interrogation. The Bush administration is asking American taxpayers to devote $698.3 million of the FY 2006 budget ($3 billion over five years) to economic and military assistance to Pakistan. The very least it should demand in return is a chance to extract information from the source of a massive breach in the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
  • Secretary Rice must remind President Musharraf that anti-democratic actions will prove counterproductive to the war on terrorism. In the midst of President Bush’s announced commitment to spreading democracy around the world, Washington has turned a blind eye to reversing Musharraf’s autocratic drift. Secretary Rice should persuade the ruling elite that the fight for security will prove futile without institutional reform. Rice should begin by offering incentives for Musharraf to honor his commitment to democracy and to bring the military and intelligence community under civilian oversight. In exchange for Musharraf’s cooperation in tracking down al Qaeda and other counterterrorist cooperation, Washington has been silent on Musharraf’s refusal to step down as army chief in December 2004 as promised, and other undemocratic actions. Instead, Washington has rewarded the Pakistani president by exempting the nation from democracy-related restrictions in its foreign and military assistance for 2005. The White House’s silence on Musharraf’s regressive policies places the U.S. on the wrong side of democracy once again and sends mixed signals to the Muslim world.
  • Pakistan must be encouraged to steer its anti-American groups away from violence and into politics. Secretary Rice should protect U.S. interests by encouraging Musharraf to steer anti-American groups away from violence. Musharraf’s anti-democratic policies have added fuel to attempts by extremist groups to emerge politically. An Islamic party alliance, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), which has secured wide support in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), achieved major victories in the 2002 election.
  • Rice and Musharraf must discuss alternative strategies for Osama bin Laden’s capture. Outsourcing the hunt for Osama bin Laden to Pakistani forces is not working. Secretary Rice should seek a review of military and intelligence personnel assigned to the task and a detailed reporting on the status of operations. Though Musharraf claims the al Qaeda leader was nearly caught ten months ago, many officials have admitted the trail has since gone cold. Terrorism experts suspect that Pakistani intelligence officials may be undermining the mission of the 70,000 troops by helping bin Laden evade capture. Officials have also blamed insufficient cooperation from Pakistan, the diversion of U.S. intelligence resources to Iraq, and an ad campaign which failed to produce any solid tips. Waziristan, the region in which bin Laden and deputy Zawahiri are thought to be hiding, continues to be a bastion of support for groups sympathetic to al Qaeda. However, engaging U.S. troops in the manhunt on Pakistani soil would likely exacerbate the situation in the long run by inflaming jihadist sympathizers and even moderate citizens.
  • Secretary Rice should encourage ongoing contacts between Pakistan and India to lessen the chance for nuclear exchange. Pakistan must continue to work with India to cultivate the political will for ending the conflict over Kashmir. The Kashmir crisis has threatened to drive India and Pakistan into nuclear confrontation since 1998.
  • Human rights must be stressed in Pakistan. Secretary Rice must raise human rights in her visits as a U.S. priority. She has a unique capacity to draw attention to women’s rights and the legal reforms necessary to improve their condition.

Robert O. Boorstin is the senior vice president for national security at the Center for American Progress. Jon Sherman is a researcher also with the Center.



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