Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Undemocratic Democracy

"This is not just a journey for me, but the beginning of a journey for the people of Pakistan for a better future" - Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister, on returning to Pakistan on September 18th after an eight-year self-imposed exile.

But what followed was a bloody massacre killing over 150. Over the last few weeks media, newspapers and blogosphere are filled with news of homecoming of erstwhile Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. There has been a mixed response to this home coming of PPL leader. Most are happy as they believe that this will see an end to long dictatorial regime of Gen Mussharaf as Bhutto comes waving the flag of democracy. But these trails for democracy have been too common and Army Generals have wiped them off easily as seen with Nawaz Sharif, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto etc. Main point to stress here is that army is way to powerful in Pakistan and is actively involved in day to day working of Pakistani State machinery. So its interference cannot be easily derided and so each and every so called democratic government is in fact only an enterprise serving Army rather than Nation.

Many do not recognize BB as a deserving candidate for leading the country. The reason was the way in which she left the country. Bhutto comes as a failed former prime minister, accused of grand-scale thieving who ran away to save her conviction (in fact she is granted amnesty by Mush). Ulterior motive is the face saving act by Mush to salvage something for his next stint as President. BB is just a vassal in this scheme of things and will just provide a face to connect with people and give right messages to international community. Rest will remain the same as before if one
go according to the deal between the two.

However strength of Musharraf itself is doubted by pundits as he is surrounded on all sides which are ready to pounce for his head. On one side are Al Quida people who are upset with Mush's American fling, then there is political opposition from other parties, there is Army who are not getting to many incentives (and wars), troubled regions of Balochistan and world pressure. So how effective and lasting this deal will be is questionable.

Another point is what should we Indians think about this development. Return of democracy can be a welcome thought for Indians but that of Bhutto is surely not. She was the first one to fuel terrorists in the region by arms, aids and money against India. Her provoking rhetoric against Kashmiri pandits cannot be easily forgotten. Many feel that she is herself responsible for Karachi bombings and this may again be a scheme to gather public sympathy and support.

Whatever happens will be eagerly watched but its foolish to think that India may gain anything from this. Pakistan is going towards destruction. It is already an International terror hub, biggest arms market and these things should be addressed by India on its own front. Mr. Mush will surely be either going to seek political asylum outside Pakistan or going to be hanged or killed( ok this is a bit extreme but Musharraf also knows this). But that will spell further disaster for Indians...

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