Things Fall Apart

In this space back in 2003, I wrote about the future of Pakistan:

[Gen. Pervez] Musharraf is another of these two-bit thugs keeping himself at the trough at the expense of his people. But, we feel, we can’t let his government fall, or else he’ll be replaced by radical Islamists — there’s no doubt they’d win if a fair election were held in Pakistan today. So, we do whatever it takes — including letting the cream of al-Qaeda off scot free — to prop him up; and in doing so, we create more radical Islamists out of ordinary Pakistanis who feel the Islamists are the only way available towards a better life; which makes supporting Musharraf more essential; which breeds more Islamists, and so on.

The key fact in that kind of a system is that it can’t last forever; eventually things will boil over in Pakistan — the people will get fed up and toss Musharraf out. The real question is, who will be writing the plans for what happens when that day comes?

Looks like we may be about to find out…

The government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, making no concessions a day after seizing emergency powers, rounded up leading opposition figures and said Sunday that parliamentary elections could be delayed for as long as a year.

Security forces were reported to have detained about 500 opposition party figures, lawyers and human rights advocates on Sunday, and about a dozen privately owned television news stations remained off the air. International broadcasters, including the BBC and CNN, were also cut off.

The crackdown, announced late Saturday night after General Musharraf suspended the Constitution, was clearly aimed at preventing public demonstrations that political parties and lawyers were organizing for Monday.

In case you needed reminding, Pakistan is estimated to have between 25 and 50 nuclear weapons