‘Imperialism and democracy don’t mix’

‘Imperialism and democracy don’t mix’, an interview with International Socialist Review, Jan-Feb 2008

What role is the U.S. trying to play since 9/11 in Pakistan?

Musharraf has succeeded in isolating himself from the population, including from sections of the elite, because he’s played his cards very badly. When he came in—like all these military rulers who run countries—he pledged a whole set of reforms. He was the first Pakistani military dictator who didn’t censor the press or ban political parties and trade unions. He said all that will carry on as before, which is unusual.

In fact, in the first years of his rule the media flourished. It was much freer than it had been even under civilian governments. A whole number of television stations sprang up, which are still in operation. This is one of the ironies of the situation. But he couldn’t deliver any reforms.

In his big speech upon coming to power he said the political class is totally corrupt and we are going to clean the stables. There was a commission of inquiry that came up with really strong evidence that Benazir Bhutto from the center-left Peoples’ Party and Nawaz Sharif from the center-right Muslim League certainly were corrupt. Nobody doubted it, but it became official. read more