‘Pakistan’s people want an end to the nightmare’

‘Pakistan’s people want an end to the nightmare’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, August 10, 2007

Declaring a state of emergency would only prove Pervez Musharraf’s inability to break from a brutal, shabby legacy

Every Pakistani leader, civilian or military, sits on a throne that is placed on a volcano periodically shaken by convulsions. As a crisis-ridden country prepares to commemorate the 60th anniversary of its foundation next week, the government is seriously divided, and its uniformed president was reported to be considering the imposition of a state of emergency, usually the last act of a government about to fall.

In most countries the very existence of a military leader symbolises a state of emergency, but not in Pakistan. The military has ruled the country for more than 30 years, survived the hot lava of numerous uprisings and assassinations, and always returned to power, largely unscathed. This political cycle is now well established: military rule—angry protests—civilian government—corruption, rigged elections and worse – military rule. The country’s 200 million people deserve better. read more