The recent news is that the government has put almost the entire set of opposition leaders in house arrest, in view of a sit-in demonstration that will happen tomorrow. This must be a terrible mistake. You don't put leaders in house arrest in a democracy - just for saying you are doing something wrong. And if you do, you have no democracy, so someone will now walk in and take your job.
The question is, who. The government is banking on the fact that the Army is weakened and discredited after so many years of Musharraf. But one would not want to bank on it - there is a very ambitious army chief and very discontent general staff - and the situation in the country will sway people away from corrupt democracy to an autocratic but cleaner army rule any day.
If this government falls, sadly, that will be the end of democracy in Pakistan. It will be hard to restore this at least in a generation. The next thing that will be on the cards will be an occupation, by Americans perhaps. Because if the democracy fails, this will now turn into a failed state, something the Americans must contain in order to keep world peace. Already, there were talks about a MacArthur solution for Pakistan. I wrote about it in this blog and commented that this is unfeasible. But, it almost seems that we are moving towards that, almost inevitably.
The reason Pakistan is so unstable is because America is not winning the war in Afghanistan, and possibly can not win. No one has ever won Afghanistan, and Americans should have realized this. Sometimes, military power undermine political common sense and that's exactly what happened in Afghanistan. By uprooting its terror network, Americans have globalized the problem.
I am sure whatever happened since 2001 point to a big terrorist win. The plan must have been exactly this, where Americans are pulled out of their country and sent chasing ghosts all over the world. Americans are increasingly looking like later Romans, powerful but exhausted, committing the same mistakes as the earlier empires and frittering away their power as a result. One must remember that Rome was defeated by Barbarians; it will be sad if it comes to that eventually.
India has a lot to lose if Pakistan implodes. We shall not remain untouched and our hard earned prosperity will be wasted away. We will be a button away from annihilation when a madman takes over Pakistan. And, besides, we shall remain a society at war as long as Pakistan remains so unstable.
Lot of people in the West fear China; but they should be afraid of Pakistan instead. China has a lot to lose, it is an important partner in world economy, a major player. Pakistan has very little to lose and we keep pushing it to the wall more and more. They may act as a proxy to anyone - China, Iran, North Korea and even Osama Bin Laden - and they have the power to create serious trouble.
The quicker we wake up to this fact, the better. Where is Obama's Pakistan policy, by the way? He is looking the wrong way as long as he is focusing on Afghanistan. He can not solve Afghanistan before fixing Pakistan - it has to be the other way round.
In the end, I do feel Pakistan was never a viable state. It was supposed to be 'Muslim India' but its raison d'etre was stolen when India became a secular country and conferred upon its Muslim citizens no less acceptance than the Hindus. Since the day, Pakistan has failed to discover a way to identify itself. I shall be politically incorrect but I shall still say this - I think the only permanent solution to the 'Pakistan problem' is its reunification with India. No annexation, just reunification - in equal terms. Agreed, India has to change itself and become a more plural and welcoming society. However, that is the only way the world peace and prosperity in the region can be maintained.