Pakistan: Deja vu all over again…

Reading the incredible Pakistani daily newspaper the Dawn, it is difficult to link what is happening in the regions with what is happening in the capital.


Reading the incredible Pakistani daily newspaper the Dawn, it is difficult to link what is happening in the regions with what is happening in the capital.

In the capital, the government has withdrawn its house arrest order for Bhutto, but then used force to suppress a demonstration that she called. Dawn columnist Zaffar Abbas noted the similarities between the scene and a similar scene with the same people on the same street in 1992, picture and all. Zaffar thinks that Bhutto’s chances of emerging from the current crisis on top are good:

However, the big question that remains unanswered is about the way out of the current crisis. President Musharraf is determined to hang on to power for as long as it takes, and with top military commanders on board, it’s nothing more than a wishful thinking of a few that an internal dissent in the army can ever lead to a change at the top.

Nevertheless, some mixed, and rather confusing, signals have started to come out from various sections of the establishment in Washington, with some elements questioning the thesis that his role in the war on terror makes him an indispensable ally. Ms Bhutto is aware of all strands of thinking in the US, and she knows well what various political groups and classes are thinking within her own country. She also knows that during her absence from the country, particularly over the last eight months, a new brand of educated, city-based agitators has emerged, and they have been making the cause of the judiciary as the rallying point.

And then in the regions. Peshawar, near Afghanistan, a suicide bomber attacked the home of a minister, killing 3 (the minister escaped). Insurgents released 60 soldiers they had captured, in an area of ongoing combat (Swat) in the border region. There were attacks on railways and firefights near Quetta. And the military stopped a shipment of wheat to Afghanistan, turned it back to Pakistan, apparently because of a shortage in Pakistan.

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.