But it would behoove President Bush, while preparing to visit Pakistan next month, to encourage Mr. Musharraf to endorse, as a first step, an agreement reached last year between a Baluch tribal leader and some members of Parliament. The pact would give Baluchistan increased autonomy.
The Musharraf army has been largely equipped by the United States. Just as America's image was helped in the region when American Chinook helicopters flew over Kashmir to give aid to that Pakistani province after the major earthquake last October, so, too, is that image damaged when American-supplied Cobra helicopters and F-16's attack civilians in Baluchistan. That's no way to win the hearts and minds of anyone.
This exactly echoes our thoughts written more than a month ago. President Bush should insist on the Punjabi dominated regime that all 'outstanding' issues including the 'core' issue of autonomy/self-determination to the Baloch minority should be discussed though a comprehensive 'peace' dialogue and scale down the dangerous 'escalation' of violence in an already unstable part of the world (bordering Afghanistan and Iran).