Oct 5, 2008
Asif Zardari’s quest to consolidate power in Pakistan proceeds without much political opposition.
Today, he replaced the retiring Chief of Navy Admiral Afzal Tahir with Vice Admiral (now Admiral) Noman Bashir, who superseded Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Asaf Humayun.
Admiral Bashir also happens to be the brother of the Zardari-appointed foreign secretary, Salman Bashir, who replaced Riaz Muhammad Khan in quite a controversial fashion.
Well, no big deal since this is, after all, ‘Zardari’s navy.’ Note in a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Zardari refers to the Intelligence Bureau as “my IB,” the Pakistan Air Force’s F-16s as “my F-16s,” and law enforcement as “my police.” The ‘commission fee’ is now 100%, it seems.
Curious how Zardari managed to convert Bret Stephens from a harsh critic into a supporter of sorts in less than a month. In September, Stephens called Zardari “a category 5 disaster.” Perhaps Zardari threatened a hug.
Note: Admiral Bashir writes in a 2000 research paper titled “Afghanistan and the ‘New Great Game’” that the Taliban “are inward rather than outward looking” and have “signalled readiness to engage constructively with the international community.” He adds: “Keeping Afghanistan broken and destabilized suits those who do not want the Caspian/Central Asian oil and gas pipelines to take one of the shortest and economical outlets over Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea.”