Democracy in Pakistan…a dream or a nightmare?

By | September 10, 2007

On a very eventful Monday for India’s neighbor Pakistan, its exiled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returned from London and after a lot of drama, was deported. Mr Sharif is back in Jeddah, and Mushy has some peace to himself. At least, he can get sleep tonight. Over the world, the media won’t. And it wouldn’t let anyone else sleep too.

The funny thing is the analysis of this incident by media across the world. BBC News has taken a very neutral view of the entire incident, trying to avoid one side or another. Also mentioning in a very subtle way that US has washed its hands off the matter, terming it as Pakistan’s “Internal Affair”.

CNN on the other hand, seems to be leaning more towards the Musharraf story of things. Though the major overtone in CNNs coverage is the neutral stand that the US has taken, and moved on to the coverage of the congressional report on whether the Iraq troop surge has worked.

The Indian media, is simply hammering this incident over and over again. If you see any private news channel here, you will know that Mr. Sharif stayed for 90 minutes in the airplane on the tarmac and a little over 90 minutes in the airport. Then he was deported to Jeddah. These channels seem to be possessed by some demonic power that forces them to show the same news again and again. More interestingly, there were panel discussions on whether Mush is trying to stop the return of democracy to Pakistan.

Whether democracy returns or not, I believe it is good that Nawaz Sharif does not return. Remember the Kargil war, when a nation’s military prepared to launch a proxy war against a country that was being kissed and embraced by its own Prime Minister.

Whether Sharif had any knowledge of the advances made by Pakistan’s army in Kargil is a topic for debate, what became clear after the whole incident is that he was a spineless Prime Minister. And in today’s unstable Pakistan, torn between extremist elements and elements still loyal to the US, a spineless premier is the last thing needed.

Before even thinking of the other choices in front of Pakistan to lead a democratic government, I would ask, is Pakistan ready for democracy? There are reports of Al-Qaeda and Taliban operating from the northern regions of Pakistan that border Afghanistan, there are tribes who are totally against any form of authority forced on them, democratic or not. And then there are the terrorists, once harbored and promoted by Pakistan, who are now disillusioned in their own masters’ support of America. This is clear by the increasing number of suicide bombings in Pakistan itself. Terrorists are irritated, and irritated big time.

With so much volatility, a democratic government will not really succeed. Especially the toothless and spineless democracy that usually exists in Pakistan. Any democratic government cannot take the harsh steps needed to control religious fanatics, terrorists and instability. All that said, is the current military dictatorship doing its job to stablize Pakistan? Statistically, it is a failure. The promise of helping the US reduce Islamic terrorism is yet to show some character. Terrorism is on an all time high, Osama keeps sending one video after another, and Taliban is growing in strength.

I am tempted to ask, if I can see all this with my limited vision of world politics, served to me by the media….why can’t the US government see it? Any major instability in Pakistan will lead to major instability in the entire South Asia. With the terrible backlash on its hands in Iraq, can US afford such an instability in this part of the world? Is the US just ignorant, or are they closing their eyes with their own hands?

No one can predict the future. But the present is clear, and the entire world can see Musharraf sitting on a time bomb. Nobody can predict when it’ll explode right under him, but as time passes, the bomb becomes a bigger threat. Would Musharraf flinch? I guess we will soon find that out.

12 thoughts on “Democracy in Pakistan…a dream or a nightmare?

  1. Amit

    if I can see all this with my limited vision of world politics, served to me by the media….why can’t the US government see it?

    maybe they can see but & are turning a blind eye & deaf ears! for the time being I think its good since the only solution they have is attack the country & I don’t think it will be in best interests of India if they bomb Pakistan & then install a puppet there! or would it be?

  2. The Empty Head Post author

    well, the one clear option that the US has it to talk straight with Gen Musharraf. They need to stop cozying up to him, and give him a kick. Someone needs to tell Pakistan to straighten up its act, and I do not see anyone in a better position than US to do so.

  3. Ab

    well, its funny if u think why cant th diplomats see something thats so obvious to our limited vision! but i think its because they have a broader vision that they have to take consider a zillion other factors.
    Plus they have to be correct diplomatically. As much as bombing Pakistan is a sexy idea, A diplomat wouldnt go by that. As much as just resigning from th Govt and going for polls right now might be a great idea, they cant do it just like that!

    and dude, you’ve got a good blog. but its easier commenting on blogspot… (though I didn comment there today:)

  4. The Empty Head Post author

    ab: welcome to empty head!

    well, i tend to agree that there might be hundreds of diplomatic reasons, but i guess Bush can call Mush and tell him to straighten his act, considering the repercussions faced by the world if Pakistan continues to be the hub for terrorists.

    and no, i am not in favor of bombing Pakistan, or any country. It’ll do more damage that good. But there must be better ways to get the job done, and US must know ways of arm-twisting.

    Also, I would love it if you’d tell me what is lacking in the commenting framework. I would love to improve your experience on this site.(Please use the contact page to send your feedback, and I will improve the site).

  5. Pingback: Global Voices Online » India: Democracy and Pakistan

  6. Ab

    well the primary bother was having to put in my id and email (which is pointless) but now it seems all th details are already there, which makes me wonder about the security!

    anyways… do you think Bush hasnt actually done that?!!!

  7. The Empty Head Post author

    ab: well, don’t worry. I can assure you that your details will never be leaked out of here. And as far as the auto-complete is concerned, all that information is located in the cache of your browser. If you clean the cache, you’ll have to enter all that again :-)

    Well, maybe he has, maybe he hasn’t. But we haven’t really seen any results out of his arm twisting, if any.

  8. Amit

    Please use the contact page to send your feedback, and I will improve the site

    or rather, make me do it! :( ;) :P

    well the primary bother was having to put in my id and email (which is pointless) but now it seems all th details are already there, which makes me wonder about the security!

    don’t think you’ve visited blogs other than on blogspot, no? ;)

    as for security, switch computers, visit this blog & your details will not be shown! what you are seeing(your name, email etc.) is stored in a cookie in your browser in your computer, so they are as secure as your computer & believe me, if you think your computer is compromised then you will be concerned about far more important issues than an email ID!! ;)

  9. Nitin

    Even Empty Heads can figure out the obvious; but not the Foggy Bottoms! The problem is not emptiness (which is a virtue in these matters) but fogginess, which clouds clear judgement!

    A Benazir-Musharraf combo would probably have been possible before March 9th. But after his confrontation with the Supreme Court, Musharraf’s fate was more or less sealed.

    So how’s this game going to play out? Well, I’d say that if the Army cannot, ahem, persuade Musharraf to leave in the interests of the country, it’ll repeat its game after Zia’s exit.

    Elections you will have, but democracy…now, that’s a very different bird.

  10. The Empty Head Post author

    Nitin: The problem with a state like Pakistan is, you really don’t know what can really happen with one political combination or another. Its like a chemistry experiment where you’ve forgotten the chemicals you’ve put in the test tube.

    So when you add a new chemical, you never know if it’ll will at as a catalyst, or if it will set your test tube on fire :)

    Welcome to The Empty Head!Hope to cya around

  11. mma

    I find this blog very interesting, i will be here everyday till now. Greetings


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