Saturday October 20, 2007
The dreadful carnage in Karachi is a bloody but perfect metaphor for the politics of Pakistan. The country has shown once again that political opportunism, home grown and nourished by foreign interests, is deadly for ordinary Pakistanis.
The media hyperventilation over the return of Benazir Bhutto is a clear indication not only that nothing has changed - but that no meaningful change is intended. An army general is entrenched as president for another five years. If the promised elections are held, they would be anything but fair and free, given that Bhutto is supposed to win and provide a democratic front for a military ruler. The Pakistani Taliban - whom many are blaming for Thursday night's assassination attempts - continue their reign of terror in the northern provinces of the country, complete with suicide bombings and beheadings, with increasing impunity. The vast majority of Pakistanis feel utterly impotent and the poor and the innocent suffer the brunt of the violence unleashed by the fanatics.