Feature

Pakistan: A dictator haunts us once again

Pervez Musharraf announced that he had formed a new political party in a bid to make “a political comeback through the democratic process”—from London, no less, said an editorial in The Nation. 

EditorialThe Nation

Is this “yet another cruel joke on the people of Pakistan”? asked the Islamabad Nation. We thought we’d finally gotten rid of Pervez Musharraf, the general who took power in a 1999 military coup and styled himself president for the next decade, when he stepped down in 2008 under threat of impeachment and fled to exile in London. Yet last week the former dictator announced that he had formed a new political party in a bid to make “a political comeback through the democratic process”—from London, no less.

His hypocrisy is obvious: After having ruthlessly gutted the democratic system as dictator, he now seeks to work within it? What’s more galling, though, is the idea that Pakistan should welcome back a leader whose policies had devastating results. His order to judges to swear fealty to the military created a constitutional crisis that reverberates to this day. And his “total kowtowing before the U.S.” after 9/11 has resulted in Pakistan’s being “rent asunder by terrorism,” with NATO drone strikes killing Pakistani civilians almost daily.

How smug of Musharraf to talk of returning to power while he sits in Britain, enjoying “ill-gotten gains.” If he really wants to re-enter Pakistani politics, why doesn’t he come home first? Then we could hold him accountable “for his many crimes against the nation.”

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