Karachi, Nov 20: Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf's international support maybe on the wane in the wake of his decision to impose an emergency across the country, but the stark reality is that what matters to Washington is Islamabad"s ability to take the "War on Terror" to its logical conclusion.
There is a view in the White House and at Foggy Bottom" (the U.S. State Department) that the the very pro-Western Vice Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani, will not be able to independently deliver on this front.
Therefore, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte's two meetings with Kiyani and a 30-minute telephone conversation with Bhutto at the weekend only emphasized the concerted efforts to bring all liberal and democratic forces into line for the fight against terror.
The Bush Administration is banking on Musharraf as the only person who has what it takes to fight the "War on Terror", no matter what the cost.
Although Musharraf has drawn flak from the US for not being hard or energetic enough in cracking down on militancy and al-Qaeda elements, he has allowed several US air strikes in Pakistan.
Thousands of people have been held without trial, some of them handed over to the US, and when the courts challenged him, he silenced them.
Simply put, even his strongest critics, like US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, accept that the "War on Terror" could be a serious casualty as a result of any regime change in Pakistan in the current circumstances.