It's too easy to think of Pakistan in terms of the "banana republics." We've got
- A military ruler who calls himself a president
- A popular, exiled leader who is welcomed back by the generalissimo - presumably to help him by adding her prestige to his power
- She narrowly escapes death when her convoy is attacked - and by curious coincidence
The generalissimo suspends the constitution and declares martial law - in order to defend against the Taliban and other Islamic radicals - then locks up
- Power fails in the city, darkening the street
- Telephone communications goes out at the same time, making it hard to call for help
- The generalissimo blames the returning exile for the attack
- His political opponents
- People who support his political opponents
- Lawyers who disapprove of his suspension of the constitution
On the other hand, Musharraf's army raided a radical mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan's captial. That may have been a good idea, but Muslims who prefer Osama bin Laden-style Islam hit back. They seem to have control of a scenic valley, called Swat, a hundred miles from the capital.
That made the Swat valley too hot for tourists. The tourist destination is now more of caliphate under the likes of pro-Taliban Maulana Fazlullah.
And, Musharraf wants it back.
A Pakistani general said that the Swat people generally aren't fired up about killing infidels, many of whom were coming to stay at recently-built upscale hotels there. I'm inclined to believe it. It's my opinion that, given a choice, most people - wherever they live - would rather open a business, or get a better job, than sign up for suicide missions.
As I said, I don't know what to think of what's happening in Pakistan.
Maybe Pakistan another country with a military dictator trying to look "democratic."
Or, maybe the Pakistani Regime is just trying to get control of its territory, even if that means upsetting the religious nut jobs who seem to run the frontier - and locking up political opponents.
Those aren't either-or notions. Both could be true.
Or, Musharraf may actually have a reason for acting like a tinhorn dictator.
We'll probably have a better idea as to what Musharraf is up to, if his army stamps out the Islamic radicals in the Swat valley.