Democracy And Pakistan

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is meeting with US officials in Washington on a plan to restore democracy to Pakistan. She is working with the current leader of Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf, on a plan to help moderate political parties develop before the 2007 elections.

Pakistan has hardly been democratic, but President Musharraf has always tried to style himself as a Pakistani version of Turkish leader Mustapha Kemal Atatürk — a military leader who would guide his state towards democracy and stability while fighting Islamic extremism. Musharraf has been instrumental in ending the tacit support of the Pakistani government to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and assisting in the fight against al-Qaeda. He’s also ensured that the tensions between India and Pakistan have not led to nuclear war but to a real détente between the two powers. While Musharraf has suspended democracy in Pakistan, it does not appear that he has abandoned it.

The US should offer whatever support it is asked to give in order to keep Pakistan stable while maintaining a path to democracy. Musharraf has acted in good faith on many occasions, and does seem to have an interest in a democratic Pakistan — however, he is also right to fear a tide of Islamic extremism taking over the country and its nuclear weapons. Musharraf is walking a fine line, but his actions have so far been shown to be consistant with a leader who is looking to stablize and democratize Pakistan.

2 thoughts on “Democracy And Pakistan

  1. Pervez Musharraf is no Ataturk. He has not delivered the reforms in education, womens rights, and and religious affairs that the great Mustapha Kemal did. Not that I am saying completely copying Atauturk would work. Studying in Turkey right now, I’ve seen how the kemalist ideology is expected of all parties, and undercuts left/right divides and has helped to back a constitution which gives the military a large say in civilian affairs. Not that this is all Ataturk’s fault, I place the blame on the Turkish Military. Their 1980 coup was certainly a last resort, but out of it came a constitution which banned many figures from politics, banned unions and students from being in politics, and also created unaccountable national security courts which have been abused over the years. Turkey’s quest for UN membership has undone some of this, but it’s still illegal to insult the state. flag, or military here. Ataturk broke so many taboos, yet those who claim to be the guardians of his legacy use his memory to enforce taboos.

    Getting back to Pakistan. Musharraf’s corrupt so-called election was little better than Saddam Hussein or Yasser Arafat’s. 99% was phony and bogus. He also has done little to change the fact that there are tons of al qaeda operatives still in Pakistan, a much bigger terror threat in his borders exists than ever did in Iraq. He came to power out of a personality feud. And if Benazir Bhutto and her husband are reformists, then the country is bad off. Her husband was nicknamed mr 10% for all the kickbacks he took. She might have been marginally lest corrupt than Nawaz Sharif, but Bhutto despite her intelligence and articulate speaking skills was extremely corrupt. I hate to be so pessmisitic here, but there is no evidence that Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto from their track records can bring democracy to Pakistan.

  2. Change that sentence for Turkey’s quest for EU membership. Obviously they are member of the UN. But just a thought though, if any new country were applying for UN membership, I don’t think Geneva would care much about them improving human rights, it doesn’t seem to be a problem for an organization despots and tyrants important committee chairs.

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