Musharraf is clearly trying to go on a “charm offensive” to the Western world, but at the same time he must demonstrate sincerity in his desire to make Pakistan a democratic and free state. That means pushing for women’s equity, fighting terrorism, and continuing to improve relations with neighboring states while committing Pakistan to becoming a nuclear non-proliferator. The AQ Khan network has already spread dangerous nuclear technology worldwide, and the world cannot afford that happening again.
Pakistan’s attempt to soften its image will only work if Pakistan makes a concerted and strong effort to purge itself of Islamic radicalism and embrace the values of democracy, modernity, and secularism. Musharraf talks a good game, but he will need to match his rhetoric with strong action. At this point, his true commitment to democracy remains tentative and unsure.