Present tense; future imperfect

The Chief Executive of Pakistan has decided to stop courting the West and focus on internal politics, but this brings him squarely up against the religious right. Meanwhile, the liberals are equivocal, and the political parties have been relegated to the political gulag. But whatever be the general's intentions, he cannot continue to rule for long in a political vacuum.

It is not that Pakistan's powerful military is unfamiliar with the running of the country. However, unlike the times of the generals Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan or Zia-ul Haq, there is a singularly different flavour with the present military regime of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, which completed a year in power in early October. The difference has pri­marily to do with the non-dictatorial mien of the Chief Executive, who comes across as a so­cial liberal reluctantly taking charge to save the country from implosion brought on by the ci­vilian politicians.

Loading content, please wait...
Himal Southasian