One day after Pervez Musharraf announced that he would be holding the suspended elections a month later than planned (which was celebrated as a victory by the US), he put rival Benazir Bhutto under house arrest indefinitely (and rounded up some 5,000 of her followers, but that's neither here nor there…) Happily, once international outcry got loud, Pakistan removed the order of restraint against Bhutto (although strangely the barbed wire and police barricades remained.
At this point, it's looking pretty unlikely that the proposed (and allegedly US designed) power sharing agreement between Musharraf and Bhutto can work. So, what happens? Does Musharraf once again become a military dictator (as if he ever stopped) or does he step down, and let elections happen?
Of course, the real losers in all this have been the moderate Pakistanis. Somehow, despite Musharraf's declaration that muslim extremists were the reason for the crackdown, the main targets have been the moderate opposition. Funny how that works. Kind of like how most of the Homeland Security billions that Pakistan collects goes to buying heavy military hardware that isn't much use against fringe Al Qaeda groups, but sure would look cool in a war with India.
The US should immediately freeze all aid until Musharraf leaves office. Backing him was an embarrasment 7 years ago, leading to his coup being legitamized by the US. It's still an embarrasment, and has to be looked on by just about any metric as a failure of US policy.
Last 5 posts by Ezra
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