The long-overdue resignation of former general Pervez Musharraf from the presidency of Pakistan may have lifted his dark shadow from the political scene, but the problems of the people of Pakistan are far from over. They are now confronted by the frightening prospect of Asif Zardari, leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), becoming the country’s president.
Pakistan turns 60 this year, yet there are few signs of the kind of maturity one would expect of a polity of such age. Its political elites continue to behave like juvenile delinquents and the military, in power for more than seven years in its latest turn at the helm of affairs, has clearly failed in the one area that should have been its strongest point: law and order.
Pakistan appears headed for more turbulent times as General Pervez Musharraf runs out of policy options in his desperate attempts to appease his foreign masters. Internally, bush fires are burning in three of the four provinces; in the fourth—the Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province—Musharraf is fighting a rearguard action to outflank supporters of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, whom he replaced in a coup in October 1999. At the international level, foreign leaders are no longer as polite as they were immediately after September 2001, when Musharraf hitched his fortunes to America’s “war on terrorism”