Saturday, September 22, 2007

"Democracy is like virginity"

"either you have it, or you don't."

Pakistan is a chaotic place. Anyone who has hurtled down a Karachi thoroughfare without a seat belt could tell you. Ever wonder where all those crippled beggars come from? I have been told by more than one person that they are deliberately crippled by criminal gangs who take a cut of their earnings, usually while this same person was deftly dodging hapless pedestrians and 5-passenger motorcycles. Injuries are South Asia's forgotten epidemic.

While the military is negotiating for the release of over 250 security personnel in the Mehsud tribal lands of Waziristan from militant locals, Benazir Bhutto is busy sacrificing the country's future for the pleasure of the boss in Washington. I'm not going to make the obvious crack that comes to mind, she being a woman, but you can bet that people are. . .

The one-liner that opened this post is due to Pakistani journalist Irfan Hussain. His latest article chronicling the moral descent of General Musharraf is a good read.

From the article:

...In case the Supreme Court does not strike down this grotesque bid, what we will be left with is hardly the ‘transition to democracy’ being pushed by Washington, and so avidly pursued by Benazir Bhutto. It should be obvious to the meanest intelligence that there is no legal, constitutional or ethical grounds for Musharraf to stay and pretend he is heading a democratic set-up.

In her dealings with Musharraf, Ms Bhutto has forgotten that power is never handed over willingly; it has to be seized.

This is true in states where an institutional framework has not evolved to make the peaceful transfer of power possible. With brief democratic interludes disrupted by long military interventions, Pakistan has not been able to grow into a democracy where power rests with the people...

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