Global Trends by Martin Khor
Monday 22 October 2007
Last week’s bombings as
Benazir Bhutto returned indicate that
Last week, at the top of the global news were the two bomb blasts in Karachi that were aimed at opposition leader Benazir Bhutto as she returned from exile to fight in the coming elections.
The country has been plunged
from crisis to crisis since General Pervez Musharraf seized power and
especially since the United States-led war in
Musharraf has had to do many balancing acts at the same time. He revealed in his book last year that the United States had threatened to bomb Pakistan “back to the stone age” if it did not cooperate in the war in Afghanistan.
Musharraf has had to balance
between pleasing the
Musharraf has to deal with a range of Muslim political parties and movements, some of which had tacitly supported him and many others who oppose him. More recently, he aroused their anger after the violent taking over of the Red Mosque in which many died.
And he is trying to balance between wanting to remain in power which he captured in a military coup, and to show the world that somehow his administration supports democracy and free elections.
Mrs. Bhutto, exiled and facing
corruption charges, returned to
Many see this power-sharing formula as an opportunity for Musharraf, who faces a lot of opposition despite winning the Presidential election earlier this month, to be able to remain in power.
Mrs. Bhutto would provide a democratic front for a military ruler, as the Pakistani journalist Ziauddin Sardar put it.
There would be the “balance” or blend between continued authoritarian rule and a democratic façade.
The whole scheme is strongly
supported (and some say nurtured) by the
and United Kingdom.
But there are many forces
Benazir Bhutto came home to a tumultuous welcome from her supporters only to have the events stopped by the bomb blasts that killed 130 people and which could have killed her.
To date, it is not clear
who is responsible. The police says it is investigating militants linked
to al-Qaeda. Mrs Bhutto’s husband blamed
She has vowed to continue
with her political campaign in order “to save
Some Pakistanis view their country’s problems as being caused, at root, by the interference of outside powers.
Last Friday, as details of the bomb blasts were still trickling in, a Pakistani diplomat told me his country would continue to be plagued with crises as long as powerful foreign countries continued to exert such great influence on the country.
Ziauddin Sardar, writing
in The Guardian (
“Over the six decades of
“As a consequence,
“Those who feel most powerless
to affect the fate of