Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pakistan outcome wide open

The last time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif -- the one Musharraf kicked out with his military coup in 1999 -- came to Pakistan from exile, he stayed only about as long as was necessary for his plane to turn around and return to Saudi Arabia. In September Musharraf had enough power to make sure Sharif, still facing some kind of charges pending from just after his time in power, could be convinced he would just be jailed. Now, with effects from Musharraf's declaration of martial law still playing out, things are less certain and Musharraf's power is more uncertain. Is that inevitable? You reach for more power and eventually you reach too far and ruin yourself? That's still to be determined in the case of Musharraf, but Sharif now believes that almost anything can happen, and he wants to be on the ground to pick up whatever pieces he can, perhaps even full power.

The sad thing for Pakistan the country is that none of the three contendors -- Sharif and Bhutto despise one another and they both despise Musharraf -- is much of a prize. Bhutto and her husband really did skim off multi-multi-millions, and Sharif was probably more guilty than he was charged with being. And we've seen Musharraf's powerlust in action.


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