03 January 2008

Pakistan after Bhutto

Musharraf Says Bhutto Took Risks With Own Safety
As expected, Musharraf is trying to deflect any blame for Benazir Bhutto's assassination that might come his way.

President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan engaged his international critics for the first time on Thursday, denying accusations of government involvement in the assassination last week of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and instead publicly criticizing Ms. Bhutto for being reckless with her own safety.

Clearly Ms. Bhutto knew that her return to Pakistan and her continuing public campaigning was putting her life at risk. Just because the assassination was not a surprise doesn't excuse legitimate questions about the role or lack there of that the government played.

The elections that were scheduled for the 8th have been reset.

The Election Commission set Feb. 18 as the date for the elections, citing the time needed to recover from the violence that followed Ms. Bhutto’s death last week. Nearly 60 people were killed, election offices were damaged and parts of Ms. Bhutto’s home province, Sindh, were paralyzed.

I hate to say this, but I'll believe it when I see it. I understand the need to set the elections back after Bhutto's death, but the elections need to happen. Pakistan, as a nuclear power, needs more stability. And while a dictatorship is stable while the dictator lives, a democracy has a different sort of stability.

What strikes me as interesting is that Musharraf has asked for international help with the investigation. He is bringing in Scotland Yard. The British, the old colonial overlords. Of course he can't bring in the US, that would be absurd, so he goes for the Brits. He's wagering that a report from the Brits will be accepted as objective, despite the Brits history with Pakistan. Hmm.

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