Friday, November 09, 2007

Bleak prospects for Pakistan

The Economist has, unfortunately, a rather bleak assessment of the possible future in Pakistan. Pervez Musharraf has proven himself to be a tinpot dictator who has as much as admitted, to 80 foreign diplomats, that he declared martial law as a matter of self-preservation. All the talk about saving Pakistan from Islamists was bogus. Yet because many Western governments do fear an Islamist takeover, pressure has been limited from abroad. The Bushlet has tut-tutted and treated Musharraf like a schoolboy (one bully knows another?) but hasn't cut off U.S. aid, which has fueled something of an economic boomlet. So Musharraf is mainly opposed by lawyers -- lawyers! -- who march in the street, get arrested and are then able to offer eloquent arguments as to why their detention is unjust, which they almost certainly will never get a chance to offer in a court. The poor in Pakistan (still far and away the vast majority) have so far been unwilling to protest. So the Perv is likely to maintain himself in power a bit longer and anything remotely resembling democracy is more than a little unlikely.

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