Saturday, May 20, 2006

Wither revolution?

Not if you're Nepalese! The reinstated House of Representatives has begun to systematically dismantle the Monarchy-Army nexus that tried to turn back the clock on modernity 15 months ago. The army is being placed more firmly under the control of the Cabinet and soon the army chief's head may roll.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan the army seems more entrenched than ever and the Bhutto-Sharif Charter of Democracy has been met with snickers. In fact Musharraf himself couldn't resist mocking the Charter by assigning Mushahid Hussain to examine the document - Mushahid after all was the trumpeter-in-chief of the deposed Sharif government, but is now the Secretary General of Musharraf's party. There is also the wonderful irony of Pakistani politicians hunkering down in the capital of the erstwhile British Raj to devise a strategy to depose a government of their fellow Pakistanis. Jinnah is surely turning in his grave.

The problem for democrats in Pakistan is simple, yet depressing: Bhutto and Sharif have been utterly discredited by their 90s back-and-forth, while the radical Islamist option (assuming it can itself move beyond its own corrupt politics) is pure anathema. Who will lead us out of the wilderness?

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