What does the future hold for Pakistan? Ayesha Siddiqa, author of Military Inc, spins four different political scenarios which could hold the key to a stable democracy. From Tehelka:
“Ma’am, are you happy with this decision?” was what the makeup woman at the GEO television channel asked me on President Pervez Musharraf’s resignation. The uncertainty in her voice brought home to me the fact that there was no consensus on the future of the country now that the greatest challenge to democracy, as official voices from Islamabad claimed, was gone. She did not even belong to the chattering classes of Islamabad – she was just an ordinary women asking a simple question, answering which in today’s Pakistan is a sobering experience.
Since Musharraf took over in October 1999, he had been claiming that he had turned the country around. In his resignation speech on August 18, he claimed that the economy was in good shape, showing a seven percent GDP growth rate, Pakistan has been declared part of the Next-11 states to show signs of rapid development, and was now taken seriously by international players. His development indicators were the increase in the number of mobile phones, cars and motorcycles. Yet, people were out on the streets distributing sweets and dancing at his departure. Ironically, in 1999 the same people had welcomed the ouster of the Nawaz Sharif regime by Musharraf.
Is something wrong with Pakistanis? Can they not make up their minds about whether they like a military dictatorship or democracy? Are Pakistanis not capable of handling democracy?
After Musharraf, U.S. Struggles to Find New Pakistan Ally Against Taliban
In the New York Times, Jane Perlez analyses the situation in Pakistan:
With Mr. Musharraf out of power, recent visitors to the United States Embassy here say American officials have been at a loss – one used the word “struggling” – to figure out who America should throw its weight behind.
On Friday, the country’s biggest party, the Pakistan Peoples Party, said it was nominating its leader, Asif Ali Zardari, for president, a post he may end up winning in an electoral college vote scheduled for Sept. 6.
That could make Mr. Zardari America’s default ally, though the next president’s full range of powers, and his commitment and ability to fight the Taliban insurgency, as Washington would like, are far from clear.