Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassination and the Future of Pakistan

Who benefits from Benazir Bhutto's assassination? That all depends on Musharif's reaction. Ideally, this should prompt a full court press against the Taliban and its sypathizers in North Western Pakistan. Musharif should declare all out war against the extremists and further, should give the US Special Forces the authority to track and attack Al Quaida and Taliban forces wherever they find them.

I can't believe Musharif would be fool enough to have been involved in the assassination. More unrest and violence is certainly not in his own best interest. He could be fool enough however, to react in a defensive manner, thus enhancing the position of those who were responsible. Martial law, delayed elections, a lame investigation could all do much more harm in the coming months to the prospects for democracy and stability in the area.

This could be a major turning point for the whole region. It could spark a pointed shift away from extremism and toward further cooperation with the west in the war on terror. It could also bring chaos and civil war. The direction may well be determined by the response of one man. Musharif has to realize that the continued rule of Parvez Musharif is not the primary concern here. He should immediately communicate and coordinate with his political rivals who share the common interest of expanding free speech, freedom of association and the democratic process. The enemies of the people of Pakistan are the enemies of democracy and freedom. A general crackdown is not what's called for. A new resolve to doggedly pursue those responsible is.

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