Sunday, April 04, 2010

From my cloudy crystal ball

Professor Juan Cole, too, notes "Pakistan Moves Further Towards Democracy". He is realistic:
Pakistan has a host of daunting problems, including high levels of corruption, the continued undue power of the military and of Inter-Services Intelligence, Taliban-driven political violence, and a legacy of support for terrorism in Kashmir and Afghanistan-- neither as yet entirely abandoned. High population growth rates, lack of land reform, and relatively low literacy and internet use all threaten to erode the impressive political achievements of the past 3 years. Even the new bill does not provide any parliamentary checks and balances on the power of the prime minister to appoint persons to high-level positions, and so is deeply flawed.

But there is some good news to be found in Pakistan's political development from time to time, and this weekend is one of those moments. Americans and Europeans should try a little humility, and find it in themselves to praise these positive accomplishments even if no Western troops set them in motion.

In my opinion:

1. Peace on India's western front is possible only if one of two things happens:
(a) Pakistan disintegrates, or
(b) The Parliament is sovereign in Pakistan.

2. Neither condition is sufficient, however they are necessary.

3. Pakistan is limping in the direction of sovereignty of the Parliament. That creates some dangers that will have to be faced. The Army is not going to let go of its power and prerogatives easily. (Parliament is far from challenging the Army yet, but it just may get there in a few years.) The upcoming battle between Army and Parliament and ensuing crisis just may be played out with Army proxies in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, etc.,. The Army will be seeking to create a situation where its supremacy cannot be questioned.

4. India will likely have to bear the cost of this upcoming confrontation.

PS: On the continued domination of Pakistan by the Armed Forces.