Global Politics

Pakistan's president resigns

CH says assessments of Musharraf have always varied widely, both in Pakistan and around the world: before 9/11, he was regarded in Pakistan as a strong leader who would root out corruption but others regarded him as just a military dictator. The US always treated Musharraf as an ally, and he had to become one after 9/11. since then I think he has remained, perhaps until 2007, as a vital ally for the US. (Musharraf has been pulled in many directions since his rise. To what extent was Musharraf regarded as too close to Washington?) Enemies surrounded Musharraf from all sides within Pakistan. His standing with civil society was never good, because he was so undemocratic. The greater opposition was with the Islamist lobby though. Most people here are secularly minded, but the Islamist lobby is vocal, if small, and influential. So when he did turn against the Taliban, there was huge anger from the Islamists here. (Do you think people in Pakistan will be eager to have less strong ties to the US?) I think it's likely the next leader will also have strong ties to the US. it's thought the Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister, might take a slightly softer approach to militants in the north, but it's tough to predict. (Are Americans safer for having their alliance with Musharraf?) Some would say without democracy, there can't be accountability, and that's what's needed in Pakistan.

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