A Door Opens for Reform in Pakistan
Helping Islamabad take care of inequality and injustice would be the best approach the world could take
Paula R. Newberg; YaleGlobal, 21 August 2008
WASHINGTON: Before the ink was dry on President Pervez Musharraf's resignation letter, and before Pakistanis could celebrate the end of his nine-year rule, remorse filled the air. Washington and New Delhi, both crucial to Pakistan's stability, quickly lamented the end of one-stop diplomacy, prefacing their official statements with "let's wait and see what democracy brings." With strife threatening Pakistan's borders and its economy limping, the danger is not that India and the US have lost a comfortable relationship with Musharraf, but that nostalgia will blind them to the opportunities that political change might bring.
Self-fulfilling prophecy is a familiar handmaiden to failed policies in this corner of Asia. Although the false promise of clean and efficient military rule has all too frequently disappointed Pakistanis and their patrons, pliant donors have often invested the military with the attributes they want and hope to see. After 2001, Musharraf was expediently billed as the savior who could save the economy, align Pakistan with the West, stop terrorism and rid the country of tainted politics. This was myth masquerading as fact in a place where everything, including nuclear technology, was for sale.
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