Husain Haqqani called attention to an editorial on the Daily Times (Lahore), which makes clear a point I argued earlier, that the Pakistan Army is not just a defense organization but Pakistan's ruling party, controlling all branches of government. Haqqani is Director of Boston University’s Center for International Relations, Co-Chair of the Hudson Institute’s Project on Islam and Democracy. and the author of the Carnegie Endowment book "Pakistan Between Mosque and Military." He served as an adviser to Ms Bhutto. The editorial, entitled PPP and the Pakistan Army, opens:
President Pervez Musharraf’s view, expressed to an American magazine, that the late PPP chairperson, Benazir Bhutto, “was very unpopular with the military”, clears the issues surrounding his policy drift in the last eight years and foreshadows what might transpire in the coming months. He began his career as the ruler of Pakistan by stigmatising both the mainstream parties, then plumping for the breakaway PML, in line with his military indoctrination against the PPP. The army’s dislike of Ms Bhutto dated from her 1988-1990 government when she was reluctantly allowed to rule under “conditions”, but was doubly disliked when she failed to walk in step with the military adventurers of Pakistan.Haqqani has published two articles of his own. First, Healing the Rifts:
Pakistan is a nation in need of healing. The last one year has highlighted the many fissures that have festered below the surface for years. Unity of command, so effective in running a disciplined force like a military unit, has ended up dividing the Pakistani nation. The first opinion poll, conducted by Gallup, after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto showed that nearly half of the sample suspected Government agencies (23%) and Government allied politicians (25%) of killing Ms Bhutto. The response to such widespread mistrust of the government is not dismissive statements by the country’s rulers. A serious effort is now needed to bridge the gap between Pakistan’s state and society.Second, Advancing the Bhutto Legacy:
Too much commentary on Pakistan has focused on the flaws and feudal nature of its politics. Given the choice between flawed politicians and a military-intelligence establishment that has fostered terrorism for years, the international community - including the United States - must side with Pakistan's politicians. Politics can change. Continued rule by a nontransparent secret service with ties to militant jihadis (which is what General Pervez Musharraf represents) will always create a security dilemma.Pervez Hoodbhoy, chairman of the department of physics at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad and the author of "Islam and Science: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality," addresses Pakistan's State of Denial about the threat posed by its nuclear weapons:
The Pakistan People's Party's decision to elect Benazir Bhutto's 19-year-old son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, as co-chairmen of the party is being criticized as representing dynastic politics that does not promote democracy. A distinction must be made between dynastic politics and the politics of family legacy.
It is difficult for Westerners to understand a situation in which a well-organized political party unites around the charisma of a single family while retaining a vast pool of talented leaders. Family legacies have worked to build democracies in countries as far apart as Greece and India. The Papandreou and Karamanlis families have provided leaders for rival parties in Greece for years, and the Nehru-Gandhi family has been the focal point for the Indian National Congress. The Pakistan People's Party, like other parties with family-based leadership in Greece, India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, has a lot of talent in its ranks. That talent remains available to the party regardless of who leads it.
A cacophony of protests in Pakistan greeted a recent statement by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammad ElBaradei. "I fear that chaos, or an extremist regime, could take root in that country, which has 30 to 40 warheads," he said. He also expressed fear that "nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of extremist groups in Pakistan or Afghanistan."After reviewing the deep inter-penetration of the Pakistan military and jihadi militants, he concludes:
But in Pakistan, few worry. The Strategic Plans Division, which is the Pakistani agency responsible for handling nuclear weapons, exudes confidence that it can safely protect the country's "crown jewels."
Peter Bergen, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and author of Holy War, Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I Know, examines the evidence surrounding Bhutto's assassination in The Killer Question (The New Republic, subscribers only).
[W]e Pakistanis live in a state of denial. Even as suicide bombings escalate, criticism of religious extremists remains taboo. The overwhelming majority still attributes recent terrorist events - such as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto - to the Musharraf government. But these delusions will eventually shatter. At some point we will surely see that ElBaradei's warning makes sense.