The situation in Pakistan is far more unstable and volatile than has been portrayed. The US/Musharraf/Bhutto deal that allowed her return was a capitulation by Musharraf that indicated that his political situation was quickly eroding. Why else would he agree to this arrangement, unless he had concluded that sharing power was preferrable to losing it altogether?
This arrangement to share power with Bhutto was intended to avoid declaring martial law and the unrest it would cause. My guess is that Musharraf discovered a potential coup d'état by a section of the military and moved to squash it. Otherwise, it seems that the plan for elections and shared power with Bhutto would have been allowed to proceed. The consequences of political schisms within Pakistan's military and secret service have a potential to reach a level of chaos that could quickly become uncontrollable. The scenarios are scary.
As to the US/Musharraf/Bhutto deal, what a combination to offer the Pakistani people. If the political situation was destablizing under Musharraf, this arrangement was sure to raise the bar. The high regard that the Western media holds for Bhutto is not shared by over 70 percent of Pakistanis, who see her as the embodiment of aristocratic arrogance and corruption.
Ultimately, the instability in Pakistan is the result of Musharraf's association with Bush and the American war on Islam. Thinking that a US-brokered deal to unite Bhutto and Musharraf would somehow pacify this unrest is a stunning miscalculation.
Nov 8 2007 - 12:57pm