“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Will Bhutto Save Musharraf and Pakistan?

"The Red Mosque was just a warm-up for what will happen if the religious schools are not disarmed," Bhutto said.

Bhutto warns of Islamist revolt in Pakistan

29 Jul 2007, 1958 hrs IST,AFP

BERLIN: Exiled former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto warned of a looming Islamist revolution mounted from the country's madrassas, in a German magazine interview to be published on Monday.

Bhutto said she was planning her return to Pakistan this year to help stabilise the country in the face of the extremist threat.

"The Red Mosque was just a warm-up for what will happen if the religious schools are not disarmed," Bhutto said.

She added that Islamist extremist leaders were plotting an overthrow of President Pervez Musharraf's government and had converted madrassas in Pakistani cities into military headquarters with well-stocked arsenals.

A suicide bombing during protests on Friday at Islamabad's pro-Taliban Lal Masjid killed 14 people in the 13th suicide blast to hit the country since a bloody army raid on the Lal Masjid on July 10.

The bomber targeted officers policing Islamic students who had occupied the mosque to demand that their jailed former cleric should lead prayers after its chaotic reopening on Friday.

The government has denied reports that Musharraf held a secret meeting with Bhutto in Abu Dhabi in a bid to arrange a power-sharing pact to steady his position.

Bhutto, who has lived in self-imposed exile since 1998 in London and Dubai because of corruption claims against her, said there were ongoing talks with Musharraf about her possible return to Pakistan.

She could be jailed on the charges upon re-entering the country, which she said she plans to do by December.

The reports of the meetings and negotiating is being reported in the Indian papers.

Islamabad, July 31 (PTI):
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's recent meeting with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has caused "immense turmoil" in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP), according to leaders of the two parties.

"Don't ask me about the level of our demoralisation and frustration. Where do we stand now as we have again sought the props of a military dictator after agreeing to accept him in uniform and re-elect him as President?" 'The News' reported yesterday, quoting a top PPP leader.

In fact, nearly all PPP leaders in Pakistan are in a state of shock and refuse to believe that their party chief has joined hands with Musharraf. They are also worried that the party would experience large-scale defections ahead of the general elections slated for later this year.

"I am still to comprehend why Benazir Bhutto showed desperation in meeting a desperate Musharraf despite knowing that she would gain nothing but would lose massively. We have been fighting against the military rule for the past eight years not to see this day," another senior PPP leader said.

Even PML bigwigs are dumbfound and dazed because of the recent meeting between Bhutto and Musharraf in Abu Dhabi.

They too fear that a number of their party comrades may desert the outfit and join PPP or other opposition parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, in the country.

Some PML leaders also fear that their party may fall apart, particularly if the anchor (Musharraf) becomes "weak and unstable".

"Undoubtedly, we have the largest number of influential constituency based figures in our ranks, but they can't win without the state patronage. We are doomed if we're not significantly helped in any way by the President in the parliamentary polls," a PML leader said.


  1. John Burns interview on Hewitt.

  2. Benazir Bhutto--dead woman walking.

  3. Also, Tom Snyder and Coach Walsh.
    Ain't it great to be old enough to take the obits seriously?
    (except when I think of some gallows humor to take the edge off that inevitable date w/same)

  4. The obits, Doug, it's gettin' so first thing, I check em out every day, to see if there is anyone left I know to talk too.

  5. I bumped Harrison back up to lead as the thread has more action.

  6. The elites in America may control the economy, still no matter who you are, whether you're a ditch-digger, a teacher, a CEO, a waiter, a maid, every American gets the right to decide. The television channels in Pakistan can empower every stratum of society to get involved in the election process.

    Get General Musharraf, Shujaat Hussain, Benazir Bhutto, Altaf Hussain, Nawaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and whoever else wanting to rule Pakistan under one roof and floor them with questions from just about anybody wanting to quiz them. Until the last day of canvassing, these candidates must be answerable to hundreds of questioners spread over weeks and months.

    Grill them hard. Notice lately the level of interest and political maturity of the callers heard on various TV networks daily.

    Point of View