There is nothing surprising or unexpected about the emergency in Pakistan. Kargil war should have been General Pevez Musharraf's high point. But he lost that badly. He thought he could salvage some thing by overthrowing the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif. But 9/11 changed all that. The world around him hasn't been the same ever since. The purported aim of emergency to save Pakistan from terrorists sounds good, but the turmoil that could lay head is worrying so much that it offsets any signs of hope.
India and Pakistan were born together, twins so to say. But it always remains a puzzle why Pakistan has gone the way it has in comparison to India. Democracy could never take root there. Military is so much a part of the official government dispensation that whenever democracy seemed to be taking shape, the army bounced back, and it was all back to square one. The sad part is that the country has not benefited much either from democracy or dictatorship.
The situation in Pakistan is as much murky as it is confusing, and there nothing much to choose from. Personally I would say, the choice in Pakistan is not between dictatorship and democracy; but between stability and anarchy. How Musharraf achieves that is a test of his leadership.
The means is not as much important as the end. But if the desired end is not achieved something should be wrong with the means. With Pakistan a part of a wider conflagration, the current turmoil is worrying. The earlier things sort themselves out there, the better.
- BBC's complete coverage of Pakistan's political crisis
- Pakistan: inside the story (Article by Salman Raja, a lawyer who was imprisoned)
- Seven questions: Musharraf's martial plan (Interview with Najam Sethi)