Thursday, December 27, 2007

Assassination of Democracy

Pakistan back to its old game.

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today at Rawalpindi, Pakistan. With this, the entire election process has become irrelevant in Pakistan. While the immediate reaction is to blame the Pakistani Army, it may not be the real force behind the assassination.

First we must understand that Benazir should have been assassinated only by those forces which are going to benefit by her not becoming the Prime Minister, which seemed to be a certainty.

Benazir had the backing of the United States, which arranged the agreement between Musharaff and Benazir. With Musharaff relinquishing his uniform, the Army would not have asked for a better choice than Benazir. With so many cases of corruption pending against her, she should be the most vulnerable Prime Minister ever for Pakistan, which is in the best interests of the Army and the Establishment. So the Army would not have ventured into such kind of acts which would backfire on it.

Ony those elements which are feeling threatened by Benazir’s chances could have undertaken such a heinous act. Already the Army under General Musharaff has been taking action against the Al-Qaeda elements in the border provinces of Baluchistan and NWFP, only under the pressure of United States of America. With Musharaff and Benazir entering into an agreement at the behest of US, the actions would only become relentless. Benazir’s opposition to the Madrassa spewing religious fundamentalism is well-known.

Therefore it can only be the fundamentalist’s political parties, especially from the border provinces, which could have done such a shameful act, so that their very existence is not threatened.

Now that Benazir had been eliminated from the political scene, the elections have become totally irrelevant. The moot question is, what the Army will do at this juncture. It is clear that the Army cannot remain a mute spectator when violence erupts all over the country. Nor it can intervene directly into the political process. It can take upon itself the role of maintaining order in the country but it has to do a delicate tight-rope walking. Also there will be vociferous demand, especially by those marginalized political parties and religious fundamentalists, for a major role by the Army on the pretext of restoring normalcy but the Army should not succumb to the temptation. Another bout of Military rule will only lead Pakistan down t
he road of self-destruction.

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