The government has closed down all but the state run newspapers and television stations, and are now broadcasting only government propaganda in which Musharraf promises to shed military uniform
and rule as a civilian, some time in January
, when parliamentary elections are supposed to happen. I was listening to NPR this morning and a dispatch said that Pakistani reporters are now posting their stories directly to the Internet in order to get the truth out to expats, Pakistanis abroad and interested parties around the world.
In short, Pakistan is devolving into a pure military dictatorship, with an American "ally" at the head.
Pakistan, almost more than Iraq, represents the abject failure of the "Bush doctrine" that includes the ludicrous notion that we can separate the world into two types of countries: those who are "with us" and those who are "with the terrorists." Pakistan, to put it bluntly, is both with us AND with the terrorists, depending on which member of the government or secret service you're dealing with. The country is teeming with truly scary militants
, including al-Qaida and al-Qaida sympathizers (the Pakistani Security Services helped create al-Qaida) and in order to put down the radical elements, Mushrarraf feels he needs to exert an iron hand. If he relaxes it, there is a good chance -- a very good chance -- that the extremist forces could take over the government, including in a truly democratic election. Therefore, there can be no truly democratic elections in Pakistan.
And that brings us to the even more ridiculous precept of the Bush doctrine: that the institution (or imposition) of democracy always brings peace and stability, and that we should promote free elections everywhere (properly influenced by us, of course...) The truth of the matter is, democracy sometimes brings chaos and instability, or worse, puts governments in place that are an anathema to us, and to our, using Bushie's favorite word, interests (see Iran, Palestine, Iraq, Venezuela, etc., etc., etc.)
And Musharraf in particular has the vexing habit of being both with George W. Bush in the war on terror (to our knowledge) and both lenient with terrorists (he pardoned A.Q. Khan out of internal political necessity) and a blatant flouter of Bush's stupid, pre-school notions of "democracy." For Bush, that's a real dilemma -- how can he cling to the heavenly, neocon dreamscape of global democracy (run ... democratically, of course ... by the U.S. and Israel...) AND be for an emerging dictator like Pervez? (Same way he can be friends with the Saudis and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak -- who faces a parallel problem to Musharraf's with the Muslim Brotherhood running around... I guess...)
It would be an absolute conundrum ... if George W. Bush knew what "conundrum" meant ...