A rift seems to have developed in relations between Pakistan and the US. Pakistan’s President, General Pervez Musharraf, has claimed that the US threatened to ‘nuke Pakistan into the stone-age’ if it didn’t co-operate with the US in the aftermath of 11 September 2001.
But one needs to ask whether it really was the threat of being ‘nuked into the stone-age’ that brought President Musharraf to heel so quickly after the events of 11 September 2006, or more the ex-gratia payment of $50 million, authorised on 28 September 2001, that ensured that Pakistan was kept on side.
Musharraf is an extremely clever politician who is adept at walking the fine and often tight line between Pakistan’s Islamic world to which most of its peoples belong, and the western world to which Musharraf has allied his nation in the Global War on Terrorism. Money and power are two commodities that seem to reign supreme for Musharraf when it comes to walking that fine tight line.
A survivor of numerous coup attempts, a method Musharraf himself favours to gain power, and assassination attempts, he hangs on to his power as every good dictator does; granting plenty of favours to other powerful people and bribery. Sometimes those granting of favours conflicts with the interests of his western allies but he is always forgiven by them because they know that Musharraf only ever does anything because it is in his interests to do so and keeping on side with his western allies is the only way that Musharraf is able to cling to his power.
It is for this reason that Musharraf has made the remarks about being threatened by the US in the aftermath of 9/11. And it is for this reason that he will get away with making these remarks without upsetting his relationship with the Bush administration too much. Such remarks are designed to keep on side with the Islamic world of Pakistan. Musharraf’s allies in the West know how important this rhetoric is to a leader in his precarious position.
The US could very well ‘nuke Pakistan into the stone-age’ but the US is also very much aware of the fact that Pakistan is the only nuclear armed Islamic nation in the world with a capability to strike back.
I doubt Pakistan was threatened to be nuked back into the stone-age.
I think the $50 million dollars paid to Pakistan, the first no doubt of many such payments, had far more to do with keeping Musharraf on side – right from the beginning. I also think that many of Musharraf’s minions were, and still are, up to their necks in perpetuating the myth of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the intrigue and subterfuge that became 9/11 – with a lot of help from the US taxpayer.
 Suzanne Goldberg, ‘Bush threatened to bomb Pakistan, says Musharraf’, Guardian, 22 September 2006. Available online: http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,,1878619,00.html Accessed 22 September 2006.
 ‘Presidential Determination: Assistance to Pakistan’, The White House, 28 September 2001.Available online: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010928-16.html Accessed 22 September 2006.