55435 3/6/2006 15:21 06PESHAWAR108 Consulate Peshawar CONFIDENTIAL 05PESHAWAR536|06PESHAWAR58|06PESHAWAR77 "VZCZCXRO9425
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FM AMCONSUL PESHAWAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6553
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 0179
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 1964
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 0095
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0390
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 0856
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 0086
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 0872
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0274
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR 2116" "C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PESHAWAR 000108
E.O. 12958: DECL: 3/6/2016
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KISL, PTER, KDEM, PK
SUBJECT: ANP CHIEF SCANS THE HORIZON
REF: (A) PESHAWAR 077 (B) PESHAWAR 058 (C) 05 PESHAWAR 536 (D) 05 PESHAWAR
CLASSIFIED BY: Michael Spangler, Principal Officer, Amconsul
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
1. (C) Awami National Party (ANP) Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan would actively support President Musharraf's government, if the GOP embraced three key ANP initiatives: (1) provincial autonomy in health, local government, education, and agriculture; (2) changing the name of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) to Paktunkhwa; and (3) comprehensive political development in the FATA. Senator Asfandyar claims a GOP-ANP alliance would demonstrate Musharraf's genuine commitment to “enlightened moderation” and give the ANP a fair chance to challenge anti-American religious parties that currently fill the political vacuum here created by the exclusion of mainstream parties in the 2002 general elections. Asfandyar was not sanguine about receiving his chance. End summary.
2. (C) Inheriting his father's position as ANP leader, Senator Asfandyar kicked off our two-hour discussion by analyzing the political realities of the so-called military-mullah relationship, asserting it was more accurate to describe it as a “master-servant” bond. While the MMA (1) stepped into the political vacuum created by Musharraf's exclusion of mainstream parties from the 2002 general elections and (2) helped to pass the 17th amendment securing Musharraf's dual tenure as Chief of Army Staff and President, the MMA is no longer a willing or constructive partner in Musharraf's long-term goals for Pakistan. The Senator is prepared to make a pact with Musharraf and the PML-Q, but he demands action -- not rhetoric -- on three key points: 1) provincial autonomy; 2) changing the name of the NWFP to Paktunkhwa; and 3) a commitment to comprehensive political development in the FATA.
3. (C) If the President pledges to support these initiatives, and follows through, Asfandyar promises strong, active public support for Musharraf. The Senator bluntly conceded his party is regionally based, and he and his senior party officers have no desire to accept Cabinet-level federal positions that would require them to step down as party officers, according to his party's by-laws.
4. (C) The Senator called for devolution of power from the federal government to the provinces in four key areas: health, local government, education, and agriculture. The federal government could create foreign relations cells that interface with foreign and international donors, but the actual development of policy and implementation of services must be left to the provinces. Asfandyar argued there is nothing in provincial autonomy “that is against Pakistan.” The provinces have greater understanding of the needs of their citizens, and are better positioned to deliver services than the federal government. The Center should not create the impression that it reserves the concurrent list powers chiefly to consolidate its political control and safeguard its bureaucratic clout.
5. (C) A long-standing ANP goal calls for changing the name of the province to Paktunkhwa. Asfandyar insisted that the other provinces are named for their most prominent ethnic groups, and the NWFP should similarly honor the Pakhtuns. The government would lose nothing in doing so, and Pakhtuns would feel they have a standing in Pakistan similar to the Punjabis, Sindhis, and Baluchis. The name change also helps to defuse brewing resentments over the perceived relegation of Pakhtuns to second-class citizenship.
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FATA Political Development
6. (C) Asfandyar outlined a multi-pronged 18-month program that he argued would usher in vitally needed changes to the FATA, empowering the local population and drawing the region more closely to the rest of Pakistan.
-- Controlling ISI and the Afghan desk of the Pakistan Army in the FATA. He argued the two entities often work at cross-purposes and in isolation from each other. Operatives oftentimes support long-standing relationships with Taliban and Al Qa'ida leaders that undermine the policy initiatives of senior GOP leaders.
-- In parallel with reigning in ISI and the Afghan desk, permitting soft political party activity in the FATA. He explained that “soft” activity meant allowing ANP party members, without government approval, to participate in social events in the tribal areas (marriages, condolences, etc.) and thus develop the relationships necessary to establish a political foothold over the longer term. Asfandyar reasoned this could begin before reforming the intelligence agencies, and is vital to balance the power of the mullahs in the region.
-- After one year of soft political activity, the Political Party Act should be amended to permit full political party activity in the FATA. The one-year lag is necessary because the religious parties already have extensive political networks in the FATA, and liberal, progressive parties need time to articulate and offer a competing vision to the FATA's people.
--Empower the true maliks (qomi mashuran) -- those whose have support from local people rather than Political Agents
-- and allow them to police their regions using lashkars (tribal police forces).
--Acknowledging that lashkhars might not be up to Taliban policing efforts, he suggested the USG/GOP consider missile strikes against second- and third-generation Taliban Pakhtun leaders that have emerged after the elimination of Nek Mohammed in mid-2004. Asfandyar stressed the ANP supports strong counter-terrorism efforts, but does not believe Pakistan Army occupation will prove effective in the FATA.
-- Integrate the FATA into the NWFP by transforming it into a Provincially Administered Tribal Area (PATA) in conjunction with the national elections in 2007.
--Introduce a local government system (LGS) after the 2007 Presidential election. By this time the political parties would have established themselves in the region and help to tie the
FATA into the NWFP.
--As a high priority in economic development, construct a trans-FATA highway connecting all the agencies to each other. Currently, to go from one agency to the next generally requires traveling in and out of the NWFP. The highway would facilitate the movement of goods and permit industry to flourish.
7. (C) Asfandyar did not appear optimistic that he and the ANP would be given a chance to work with Musharraf or the PML-Q. Possibly, he calculates that Musharraf does not see him as a powerful enough partner, and the ANP program would open up the GOP to calls for greater autonomy from other parts of Pakistan. Asfandyar's remarks balance a realistic assessment of current FATA problems with a progressive vision for the future. His 18-month plan for political reform would likely pay long-term dividends, but requires bold action on the part of President Musharraf in the midst on an ongoing War on Terrorism. END