THE re–arrangement of Prince Charles' programme in Pakistan will have been the least of President Musharraf's worries this week. It certainly would have been unwise to go ahead with the planned visit to an area close to the religious school in Bajuar which was attacked by Pakistani army helicopters on Monday with the loss of many lives. Understandably local feelings are running high following the attack and a royal visit would be risky in the extreme. The Pakistan authorities claim that the school was being used as a training centre for some 80 Taleban militants. It is located fairly close to Pakistan's western border with Afghanistan which President Karsai of Afghanistan complains is not adequately controlled by Pakistan. President Musharraf points to the difficulty of monitoring movements in this lawless area and recently reached an agreement with the leaders of the Waziristan region whereby they would seal the border if the Pakistan army left them alone to do the job. The President defended this agreement vigorously during his recent visit to the United States and Britain but the reality seems to be that the deal is not working and Taleban fighters are able to move freely across the border. Musharaff's commitment to help in the war on terror is regularly putting him in an exceedingly difficult position with his own people and his army which has lost 700 soldiers fighting in Waziristan in the last two years.


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