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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pakistan Elections: "“Why is this man so important?”

Helene Cooper in NYT quotes Mr. Hussain Haqqani asking her “Why is this man so important?”

Mr. Hussain Haqqani is a former politician, journalist, staffer, and presently teaches at Boston University and appears frequently on talk shows. His wife was awarded a ticket on PPPP platform in recent elections and he was billed as a prospective foreign minister which he played down in one interview. He is eloquent and satisfies the media's quest for sound bites. Also he is not naive.

I was not surprised at his naive question, though.

To answer his question "Why is this man (musharraf) so important?" one need not go to learn or teach at Boston College.

The U.S. Administration prefers to deal with Shahs, Hussains, (both the Iraqi and the Jordanian ones not this one) Sadats and Mubaraks. The reverse of this is obvious too - they are loathe to deal with democratically elected (read answerable to their people) leaders. Of course we call it double-speak - only allowed for super powers.

The Administration prefers to deal with authoritarian figures. There Ms. Cooper is your answer.

U.S. Ponders Next Steps in Pakistan After Election Results By HELENE COOPER

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration was scrambling Tuesday to pick up the pieces of its shattered Pakistan policy after the trouncing that the party of President Bush’s ally, President Pervez Musharraf, received in parliamentary elections.

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Cai Yang/Xinhua, via Associated Press

President Pervez Musharraf is the Bush administration’s preferred leader of Pakistan.

The United States would still like to see Pakistan’s opposition leaders find a way to work with Mr. Musharraf in some kind of power-sharing deal, administration officials said, but that notion appears increasingly unlikely given how poorly Mr. Musharraf’s party did in the elections, against strong showings by the Pakistan Peoples Party of the late Benazir Bhutto and the party of Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister.

“Musharraf is obviously a poison pill,” said Daniel Markey, a former South Asia expert at the State Department under President Bush. “He is fading out. The question is, what happens next?”


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