Thursday, November 8, 2007

Democracy on pause

by Radha Kumar from The Hindustan Times (India)

The Bush administration has demanded that Musharraf adhere to his pre-Emergency commitments to step down as army chief and hold elections, warning of an aid review and postponing military cooperation talks. Britain has echoed the US's demands, but taken no other steps; and China and Saudi Arabia have expressed little more than grave concern. By contrast, the European Parliament was prompt in condemnation and the Netherlands suspended aid. But the US has limited leverage because the Pakistani army knows that without it, the US will lose the 'war against terrorism' in South Asia ... Pre-Emergency, the US-British-Pakistan army-Benazir gameplan was to usher in the limited reform ("phase 3 of my democracy", as Musharraf said in his embarrassing address of November 3) of a troika, in which the military would make up two members, and the civil party, the PPP, would be more than a ragtag bundle (the PML-Q). But the public mood appears to be against a new military-civil partnership. Unfortunately, as long as Pakistan is involved in counter-insurgency, the military will remain dominant. And as long as the public mood is against the military, the present collision course will continue.

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