Monday, November 19, 2007

What the Heck is Musharraf Thinking?

I kept thinking that Musharraf's emergency takeover of the Pakistani government was a last-ditch effort to secure power for as long as possible (that is, until he, himself, was bloodily couped by some radical Islamist group), knowing full well he didn't stand a chance at having his election confirmed by the Supreme Court.

But now, he's trying to pretend he's on the democracy track. He has stacked the Supreme Court with hand-picked appointees who voted to unanimously approve the election (note that those judges who were not sacked nor hand-picked refused to swear oath, presumably due to Musharraf's insistence on the oath choosing him as primary deity). Now that he has "legitimacy," he's continually promising to shed his uniform and become a civilian leader (but he'd promised, some months ago, to do this as soon as he was re-elected... we're still waiting).

All of that doesn't seem too strange, but here's the weird part: He's pushing forward parliamentary elections. Prime Ministers really don't do this unless they think they're going to win big sooner rather than later. I don't presume to know what's really going on in Musharraf's head, but could he actually think the emergency rule he's put into place has bolstered his popularity? Or is he simply worried that some other annihilations of his country's constitutions will be discovered soon, and he's going to try to get the elections over with before everyone catches on to his world domination plot?

I'm just not sure. I'm very interested to see how these elections go. From what I'm reading (not that I can find a poll anywhere), it seems Bhutto has the edge, but it's entirely plausible that the Jamat-e-Islami party could dark-horse their way into instituting Islamic rule in Pakistan. I'm not sure at this point if these guys are Taliban-friendly, but I suspect they would be significantly less willing to launch tough operations into Pakistan's northwest, and would probably mean the loss of a pro-American ally in the region.

I just hope Musharraf hasn't screwed this up too bad.