Pakistan on the Tightrope

Posted in Broader Middle East , Pakistan | 12-Apr-08 | Author: Isaac Kfir| Source: MERIA Journal

This article examines Pakistan following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the recent parliamentary elections within the confines of the challenges that arise from the need to embrace democracy. The article accepts that Pakistan must contend with a powerful military, rising Islamism, tribalism, an unstable political system, quarrelling leaders, and difficult foreign policy issues while it strives to continue to play its role in the global war on terror. The author concludes that only by uniting the different actors and seeking a stable Pakistan can the Islamist threat be defeated.

For over 60 years Pakistan has hovered on the cusp of two worlds: the Islamist and the liberal democratic. Pakistan's flirtation with Islamist rule began with the decision to vest sovereignty in the hands of Allah in the early 1950s. Over time, the country officially sanctioned Islamist movements such as Jama'at-i-Islami or Tablighi Jama'at and accepted Islamist education and the legal status of Shari'a within Pakistani society. Conversely, Pakistan has also sought to embrace such liberal democratic principles as free elections, separation of power, and multiparty politics, as well as reducing the influence of Islamic law in Pakistan.[1] However, this balance is facing tremendous pressure, with powerful forces demanding that the country decide between the two paths. Most worryingly, the military, the most powerful institution in Pakistan, seems to have its feet in both worlds, trying to maintain a balance between them.[2] President Pervez Musharraf, a former head of the army, highlights this challenge, as he has sought to reform Islamic legislation (the Hudud Ordinance)[3] while also allowing Islamist education and conservative (including militant) Muslims to remain powerful in Pakistan.[4] Musharraf has attempted to reconcile these two demands through "Enlightened Moderation,"[5] which has yet to prove itself fully as a viable option for Pakistan since it does not seem to offer one concrete solution for the different actors operating in the country.

The process of reform and the presence of a radical Islamist opposition have led to some major incidents such as the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) siege in Islamabad[6] and the intensification of military and conversely terrorist campaigns in the Swat Valley, Waziristan, and across the country.[7] Actions by the Pakistani authorities have drawn a violent response from the Islamists, causing a considerable increase in attacks mainly against Pakistani politicians and the security services personnel.[8] This has led to increased and unprecedented levels of political tensions in the country, especially between the executive and the judiciary,[9] as well as among the various political parties.[10] The issue of the military has remained highly central to Pakistan and its development, even though under the new chief of the army, General Kiyani there has been an attempt to curtail and reduce the role of the military in civilian affairs. However, it is highly unlikely that the military will relinquish its preeminent position in Pakistani society and accept real civilian oversight into its affairs.[11] At the same time, the Islamists (whether those affiliated with a political movement or those that embrace violent change) are also unlikely to stop their clamor for Pakistan to enhance its Islamic identity. The urban professionals remain committed to the removal of the army from Pakistani politics and the restoration of the rule of law in Pakistan.[12]

Pakistani politicians face the unenviable task of trying to bridge the gulf between the different worlds. Since Benazir Bhutto's assassination on December 27, 2007, this task has become much more difficult, as the country appears more divided. The government and the military are determined to defeat the Islamist tide, while a coalition of liberal democrats, lawyers (urban professionals), ethno-nationalists, and Islamists warn that Pakistani democracy has no future so long as Musharraf and the military run the country.[13] Thus, Pakistan is in the midst of a violent (bloody) debate as to its future: Should the country embrace Western-style democracy or accept an enlightened quasi-military dictatorship? Should it simply retain its Islamic features or expand them? Furthermore, what role should the army play in Pakistani society and politics? As things stand, the key actors involved will have difficulties compromising on their main agendas, thus ensuring that the debate rages on. At the heart of the debate lies Musharraf's position in Pakistan, specifically his role in Pakistani society. This has major political ramifications for the country because of the close alliance Musharraf has built with the Bush administration and the United States in general.[14]


There are two powerful forces contending for authority and blocking the creation of a stable liberal democracy in Pakistan: Islamism[15] and the politically ambitious military.[16] While many have advocated democracy as the best tool for achieving progress and stability,[17] the concept of "illiberal democracy"--conceived by Fareed Zakaria, a former editor of Foreign Affairs and Samuel P. Huntington's student--is particularly useful when examining Pakistan. Zakaria argues that since the USSR's collapse, countries have been embracing a system that combines multiparty elections with limited individual liberties and freedom. He distinguishes this system from traditional Western-style democracy--in which free and fair elections occur alongside individual liberty and human rights (known as "Constitutional Liberalism")--with the latter being more important in terms of determining the level of freedom in a society, as it focuses on the role of the individual in society.[18]

The concept of "illiberal democracy" fits Pakistan well, in part because of religion and the determination of the state to crush opposition. On the issue of religion, the Islamist vision ensures that greater individual freedoms will be curtailed substantially. Islamists maintain that only their interpretation of Islam is true, meaning that they do not embrace one of the key fundamentals of constitutional liberalism: freedom of choice and freedom to practice one's own religion as one sees fit. Thus, to counter the rise of militant Islamism, Pakistani authorities increasingly turn to repression (understood as extra-judicial killings, closure of private media outlets, imposition of military or emergency law, and other such measures), which undermines the very essence of the democratic state.[19]

At the other end of the spectrum, the powerful role that the military has in Pakistani society ensures that Pakistan functions as an "illiberal democracy," as in true democracies the military is subservient to civilian bodies.[20] Owen Bennett Jones notes that the military controls five major businesses in Pakistan, providing it with billions of dollars. At the top of the list is Fauji Foundations, run by the Defense Ministry. The foundation's assets include sugar mills, chemical plants, and fertilizer factories, as well as a gas company and power plants. Significantly, the foundation runs its own welfare program and owns more than 800 educational institutions as well as over 100 hospitals. The second largest military business is the Army Welfare Trust, controlled by General Headquarters (GHQ). The trust owns the Askari Bank, farms, property, sugar mills, as well as petrochemical, pharmaceutical, and shoe plants. Allegedly, about half the profits that GHQ gets from its ventures go towards army pensions. The military has three other important enterprises: the Frontier Works Organization (FWO), a road construction business which since the mid-1960s has undertaken projects worth around half a billion dollars; the National Logistic Cell, a transport company with over 2,000 vehicles which employs army officers in service; and the Special Communications Organization, which provides Pakistani-held Kashmir with telecommunication services.[21] In sum, the presence of Islamists and the ability of the military and security services to operate with little judicial or civilian oversight ensure that constitutional liberalism, which is fundamental in the development of a true democracy, remain inherently weak in Pakistan.


General Zia-ul-Haq left a tremendous imprint on Pakistan through his Islamic reforms (Nizam-i-Mustafa)[22] as well as through his support for the Afghan resistance movements from 1979 to 1989. These two issues were Zia's passion.[23] In terms of his Islamization, Zia reformed the legal system to establish Shari'a-based courts, eradicated interest-based banks, and made zakat (Islamic alms) compulsory. He promoted Islamic doctrines in the media and education (the madrasa system).[24] He allowed religious movements, such as Jama'at-i-Islami and Tablighi Jama'at to operate inside army barracks and convert military personnel, a substantial move from the quasi-secular British-organized army that operated in Pakistan following partition. The consequence of the presence of religious movements within the military was arguably to create a cadre of Islamists within the military with an Islamist vision of Pakistan for which they were willing to kill and be killed.[25]

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 further linked Afghanistan's future with that of Pakistan, as Pakistan played a major role in the campaign to evict the Soviets.[26] Pakistan's involvement there has had a number of consequences, especially in heightening the powers of the illiberal forces. First, it strengthened the security services, especially the Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate (ISI) in Pakistan--which ran Pakistani involvement in the war in Afghanistan, as the ISI received vast sums of money from the Saudis and the United States that it distributed as it saw fit. This greatly empowered the director of the ISI, who seems to be second in importance after the chief of the army.[27] The Afghan jihad also led to the proliferation of militant Salafi Islam via the madrasa system, as seen with the Dar al-Ulum Haqqaniyya school, from which many of the Taliban leaders came.[28] Under Zia, madrasas increased from around 890 in 1971 to almost 3,000 by the end of the 1980s.[29] These schools have remained in Pakistan, especially in the tribal areas along the Afghan-Pakistan borders.[30]


Benazir Bhutto's two terms as Pakistan's prime minister (December 1988 to August 1990, and July 1993 to August 1996) drew tremendous interest and controversy. Bhutto never completed either one of her terms, as she was removed from office both times over allegations of corruption and malfeasance. In retrospect, one could argue that Bhutto was a politician of extremes.[31]

Benazir's first term lasted about 20 months, until President Ghulam Ishaq removed her from office. After spending the next three years in political opposition to Nawaz Sharif's government, she returned to the office of prime minister, but again did not see out her full term; in 1996, President Farooq Leghari, a Pakistan People's Party (PPP) nominee, dismissed her from office.[32] These allegations dogged Benazir throughout her political career, causing her great difficulties, as after all it is difficult to champion reform--especially democratic reform--with a tainted reputation.[33]

Assessing Bhutto's tenure from a political perspective is difficult, especially as she first entered office with a very weak mandate. The PPP won majorities in Sindh and the North West Frontier Province but failed to do so in the Punjab and Baluchistan. Moreover, she did not have a majority in the National Assembly, having secured only 92 of the 207 seats. In addition, Bhutto had to work with problematic allies (known at the time as the Movement to Restore Democracy, MRD), which she later claimed had abandoned the alliance for its own selfish political reasons. What is more, Bhutto and the PPP needed to contend with the Zia-organized state machinery that strove to undermine her popularity by using unfair legislation, the judicial system, and other means.[34] The lack of a mandate and a problematic coalition imposed great hardship on Bhutto, a woman in her mid-thirties carrying a tremendous political legacy, while also recovering from childbirth.

The legacy of Afghanistan coupled with a powerful military establishment and a formidable security services machinery both unwilling to have their wings clipped by a civilian leader also proved to be a major obstacle for the inexperienced Benazir.[35] Her inexperience (she was only 35 when she became prime minister, her first political position) showed when soon after taking office in 1989, she appointed retired Air Marshal Zulfiqar Ali Khan to head a four-man intelligence reorganization committee. His purpose was to curb the powers of the ISI. As one of Bhutto's ministers said at the time: "We have no control over these people. They are like a government unto themselves."[36] The problem was that it only aggravated the military and turned it further against Bhutto and her agenda. However, despite--or perhaps due to--the aforementioned difficulties, Pakistan did not improve politically, as the country retained its feudalistic and undemocratic characteristics. Yet some scholars, such as Mahmood Monshipouri and Amjad Samuel claim that under Bhutto:

The press gained freedom, young people were able to express themselves through Western-influenced music and were given media coverage, more women were seen and heard in the political arena, people in general were allowed to express their political views, and there was a prevailing sense of freedom in the air. The government avoided oppressive measures in an effort to build popular support, and overall, was liberal and tolerant of diverse political views. Such an atmosphere gave people hope for a better, more open future; the patron-client relationship of the syncretic political structure that for three decades had characterized Pakistan's highly personalized politics effectively ended. Pakistan appeared to be on the verge of a new era of institutionalized politics.[37]

Bhutto did not fare much better during her second term, and more importantly democracy remained an idea rather than a reality: human rights violations continued, as did sectarian and ethnic terrorist activity. She attracted tremendous criticism over her style of management, with the International Monetary Fund suspending loans to Pakistan due to Bhutto's refusal to appoint a finance minister, which ensured that Pakistan experienced tremendous economic difficulties especially as the military continued to demand a large budget without accepting civilian oversight.[38]

Socially, Benazir failed to deliver on the issue of women's rights.[39] In this, Bhutto was no different from other Pakistani leaders--democratically elected or military dictators--who failed to enhance and protect the role of women in Pakistani society (although in her campaign, Bhutto had focused on the need to empower women and for gender equality). In terms of the economy, Benazir sought to follow in the footsteps of Margaret Thatcher and reform the Pakistani economy in the hope that it would reduce widespread poverty.[40] The reality is that Bhutto may have had an ambitious agenda, but she failed.[41]


Benazir Bhutto was not idle during her time out of office. Her most impressive achievement was the manner in which she reinvented herself as the only true savior of Pakistan by convincing European and American politicians and media that she could restore and enhance democracy[42] while also fighting the Talibanization of Pakistan. A third issue that has become central to Pakistan was the increasing polarization among and within Pakistan's political parties. This undermines Pakistani stability and prevents the efficient running of government, as political leaders spend more time denouncing each other than running the country. This was seen for example with the recent split within the religious alliance, with some supporting the 2008 parliamentary elections and others boycotting them (the JUI contested the election while the JI boycotted them). Jama'at-i-Islami Deputy General Secretary Mian Maqsood Ahmad, for example, has severely criticized both Jami'at Ulama-e-Islam and Nawaz Sharif for compromising on principles by agreeing to participate in the elections. Ahmad declared: "Qazi Hussain Ahmad tried its best to keep the religious alliance intact but now JI will no more compromise on its stance. We have no lust for power, stand by deposed judges."[43]

Preparing for the January 8, 2008 elections, which were postponed after Bhutto's assassination, Benazir made several promises. They are important because they were adopted by her party. The first pledge was to improve the economy, as despite economic progress under Musharraf,[44] millions of Pakistanis still live in abject poverty.[45] Thus, Benazir pledged at least one year of employment to each of Pakistan's poorest families, offering around five million people micro-financing so that they would be able to open small businesses.[46] Her second promise was to deal with Pakistan's crumbling education system. Bhutto claimed that she would offer all children between the ages of five and ten schooling by 2015.[47] This was a highly ambitious plan, and there are major concerns about whether it is manageable--especially in the problematic tribal areas where girls often do not receive education because it is widely believed that educating girls is not very important, unlike in the urban centers.[48] Moreover, the PPP is relatively weak (in terms of representation, influence, and patronage) in the tribal belt (the key parties in the area are the Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal and the Awami National Party), which will undermine any serious PPP effort to introduce reforms in those areas.[49] Benazir also promised to extend the national judicial system to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which is a very difficult initiative, as well as to improve the police force and to establish councils to help administer the tribal provinces.[50]


The key challenge faced by Pakistani civilian politicians is to win over the military. This is especially important for the PPP, which traditionally has a poor relationship with the military establishment. The military has historically opposed Benazir, just as it has other non-military politicians.[51] The distrust shown by the military toward Benazir and to the PPP stems from a number of reasons. First, the military may feel that she and the PPP have never forgiven it for its collusion in the execution of Zulkifar Bhutto. The PPP has pursued an anti-military campaign in which the military is often portrayed as the root of many of Pakistan's problems. This is a dangerous tactic, as it makes it harder for the PPP to develop a working relationship with Pakistan's most influential actor.[52] Second, neither Benazir nor the senior members of the PPP had served in the military, nor did they develop ties with the officer corps, a necessity if one is to survive in Pakistani politics.[53] Third, Benazir and the PPP angered elements within the military by suggesting that that the military or the security service had a role in the Karachi suicide attack and Benazir's death.[54] Zardari made it clear that the first issue before the new government will be to ensure a UN investigation of Benazir's assassination, while for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) the first issue is Musharraf's impeachment and the return of the judges that Musharraf deposed in 2007.[55] Significantly, since the election results the two appear to have worked out an agreement under which they will cooperate and govern Pakistan. However, it is already blatantly obvious that Sharif is gunning for Musharraf, while Zardari has a more pragmatic approach.[56] This may create problems between the two, especially if Sharif re-enters the National Assembly, as he is planning to contest a by-election so that he can do just that. Closely linked to the issue of the military is the increasing Talibanization of Pakistan. The rise in Islamist militancy and terrorism in Pakistan is a major cause for concern,[57] and one must wonder how Bhutto's successors would be able to deal with the radical Islamists and tribal leaders without clear-cut support from the Pakistani military.[58]

Following the February 2008 parliamentary elections, the PPP and PML-N appear to have decided to cooperate. Yet it is noteworthy that the two parties come from different spheres (the PPP is more secular and arguably left-of-center, while the PML-N is more conservative, especially as Nawaz Sharif was Zia-ul-Haq's protégé). This suggests that long-term cooperation may become difficult once the election euphoria recedes. The Musharraf-backed Pakistan Muslims League (Q), the party affiliated with the president, has and will continue to have a harder time attracting allies from the opposition. From the president's perspective, Musharraf appears to have alienated potential allies from the right (religious parties), which did very poorly in the elections, and the left (Benazir's PPP). The religious alliance (Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal) is struggling because of internal dissension between the two main movements, Jami'at Ulama-e-Islam and Jama'at-i-Islami.[59]


Pakistan stands at a precarious moment in its history. Each of the major actors (Asif Ali Zardari, Pervez Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif, the Islamic parties, and the military) has an agenda that makes it difficult to forge dependable alliances with the others, especially as coalition members constantly strive for supremacy for themselves rather than focusing on fixing the country's problems.

Musharraf's willingness to retire from the military and appoint a new chief of the army, as well as to end emergency rule, assuaged some concerns about returning Pakistan to the path of democratic development. However, there are major worries over his and the military's involvement in the election process and the election campaign,[60] not to mention the way that he has stacked the Supreme Court with his supporters, and it is clear that the battle for the Supreme Court and Chaudhry's return to the bench has not ended.[61] If anything, it will occupy the new National Assembly, as people such as Sharif hope that a Chaudhry Court will overturn his various legal problems. Sharif, after all, is not covered by the National Reconciliation Ordinance, which allowed Bhutto to re-enter politics. He is also barred by the constitution from holding a third term as prime minister.[62]

In light of this assessment, it is clear that stability is impossible in Pakistan without cooperation among the major players. Conversely, real and true democracy is unattainable without a difficult-to-achieve combination of improved state control over its institutions, openness, and the defeat of violent radical Islamists. Highly relevant here are the words of former Singapore prime minister and architect of that country's success Lee Kuan Yew: "I do not believe that democracy necessarily leads to development. I believe that what a country needs to develop is discipline more than democracy. The exuberance of democracy leads to indiscipline and disorderly conduct which are inimical to development."[63]

Put simply, what must currently drive Pakistanis is the need for stability and security, as only with the achievement of these goals might true democracy one day sprout.

* Isaac Kfir is assistant professor at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy & Strategy, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC). He is author of "The Crisis of Pakistan: A Dangerously Weak State," Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3 (September 2007); "The Paradox that is Pakistan: Both Ally and Enemy of Terrorism," MERIA Journal, Vol. 10, No. 1 (March 2006); and "British Middle East Policy: The Counterterrorism Dimension," MERIA Journal, Vol. 10, No. 4 (December 2006).


1 An early example of this was the 1961 Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, which sought to find a balance between Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence) and modern views on gender equality.

2 On the issue of Pakistan being a weak state, see Isaac Kfir, "The Crisis of Pakistan: A Dangerously Weak State," Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3 (September 2007),

3 "Editorial: Hardtalk by Aamer Liaqat is welcome," Daily Times (Pakistan), May 8, 2005, In 2002, the Musharraf government passed the Voluntary Registration and Regulation Ordinance, aimed at bringing Pakistan's religious schools under some form of government control. This means that madrasas are legally required to maintain accounts and submit an annual report to the education board. The ordinance also prohibited foreigners from providing grants, donations, or aid, while the appointment of teachers or the admission of students is limited to those who have a valid work visa and permission from the Ministry of the Interior. Isaac Kfir, "The Paradox that is Pakistan: Both Ally and Enemy of Terrorism," Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, Vol. 10, No. 1 (March 2006),

4 It is true that the Islamic Alliance (MMA) had a poor showing at the elections, but that does not negate the strength of the Islamists in Pakistan.

5 Pervez Musharraf, "A Plea for Enlightened Moderation," The Washington Post, June 1, 2004.

6 Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qa'ida's second-in-command, declared: "This crime can only be washed by repentance or blood." Quote taken from Somini Sengupta, "After mosque Battle, Musharraf's Troubles Persist," International Herald Tribune, July 11, 2007.

7 Reportedly, following the defeat of Fazullah's forces in the Swat Valley, al-Qa'ida sent its own fighters to the region with the aim of preventing the Pakistani military from declaring an outright victory against the Swat militants. Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Al-Qaeda Fights for its Mark in Pakistan," Asia Times OnLine, December 13, 2007,

8 Reportedly, Pakistan endured 56 acts of suicide terrorism in 2007, which led to the death of 419 members of the security services as well as 217 civilians. In 2006, Pakistan experienced six such attacks. Chidanand Rajghatta, "Pak's Suicide Terror Rate: One Attack per Week," The Times of India, January 16, 2008,

9 Farhan Bokhari, "Exile Speculation for Former Pakistan Judge," Financial Times, December 10, 2007.

10 One has to wonder how long the alliance between the PPP and the PML-N will remain strong. History has shown that such alliances rarely remain potent over a long period of time, especially as both are competing for power in Pakistan.

11 Farzana Shaikh, "Pakistan's Army Will Still be the Final Arbiter," The Independent, February 17, 2007,

12 There are continuous calls in Pakistan for the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry who was dismissed by President Musharraf in 2007. Pamela Constable, "Pakistan's Lawyers on the Front Lines," The Washington Post, November 19, 2007.

13 Although Musharraf is not the chief of the army, he is surrounded by military advisers. Second, Musharraf spent more than 30 years in uniform; it is therefore highly unlikely that his official retirement means an end to his close affinity with the military.

14 There is no doubt that Musharraf has done much to repair Pakistani-U.S. relations.

15 For a major discussion on the role and power of the Islamists in Pakistan, see Mary Anne Weaver, Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2003); Owen Bennett Jones, Pakistan: Eye in the Storm (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), pp. 250-80; Husain Haqqani, Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military (Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2005); Stephen P. Cohen. The Idea of Pakistan (Washington: The Brookings Institution, 2004); "Pakistan: Madrasas, Extremism and the Military," International Crisis Group, Asia Report, No. 36 (July 29, 2002), p. 9. [Report amended on July 15, 2005].

16 On a cynical note, the concern centers on a belief by the military that entrusting politicians will mean that the military will lose financially, politically, and socially. A less cynical position is that the military believes that it is the only truly united Pakistani force, while ethnic, tribal, and religious concerns guide politicians. Thus, the only way to protect Pakistani unity is through the military. This may explain why Musharraf wanted to remove former Supreme Court Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who investigated human rights violations committed by the security services and thus posed a threat to the military. Isaac Kfir, "Pervez Musharraf's Troublesome Justice," Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2007.

17 Francis Fukuyama, "The End of History?," The National Interest (Summer 1989); Samuel P. Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 72, No. 3 (Summer 1993), pp. 23-49; Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Touchstone, 1997); "Report of the Policy Working Group on the United Nations and Terrorism," UN Security Council A/57/273-S/2002/875; "A More Secure World," Report of the High-Level Panel on Threats Challenges and Change, United Nations, 2004. See also the opening paragraph of the 2002 U.S. National Security Strategy, "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America," September 2002,

18 He writes: "If a country holds competitive, multiparty elections, we call it democratic. When public participation in politics is increased, for example through the enfranchisement of women, it is seen as more democratic. Of course elections must be open and fair and this requires some protections for freedom of speech and assembly." Fareed Zakaria, "The Rise of Illiberal Democracy," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 76, No. 6 (November/December 1997), pp. 22-43 (quote taken from p. 25).

19 On the relationship between repression, terrorism, and democracy, see for example, Leonard Weinberg, "Democracy and Terrorism," in Louise Richardson (ed.), The Roots of Terrorism (New York: Routledge, 2006), pp. 45-56; Michael S. Stohl, "Counterterrorism and Repression," in Louise Richardson (ed.), The Roots of Terrorism (New York: Routledge, 2006), pp. 57-69.

20 Critics of Musharraf claimed that one of the reasons behind the suspension of Chaudhary was that as chief justice he was willing to investigate human rights violations by the security services. Haqqani, Pakistan; Cohen, The Idea of Pakistan.

21 Jones, Pakistan, pp. 277-78.

22 Charles H. Kennedy has argued that Zia's Islamic reforms were largely political and cosmetic and did not really change anything in Pakistan. Charles H. Kennedy, "Islamization and Legal Reform in Pakistan, 1979-1989," Pacific Affairs, Vol. 63, No. 1 (Spring 1990), pp. 62-77.

23 Weaver, Pakistan.

24 "Pakistan: Madrasas, Extremism and the Military," International Crisis Group, Asia Report, No. 36 (July 29, 2002), p. 9. [Report amended on July 15, 2005]; K. Alan Kronstadt, "International Terrorism in South Asia," CRS Report for Congress, November 3, 2003.

25 Jones, Pakistan, pp. 250-80; Haqqani; Pakistan; Cohen, The Idea of Pakistan; Weaver, Pakistan.

26 See for example, Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 12, 2001 (London: Penguin Books, 2005); Robert D. Kaplan, Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan (New York: Vintage Books, 2001).

27 Coll, Ghost Wars; Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda's Road to 9/11 (London: Penguin Books, 2007); Benazir Bhutto, Daughter of the East: An Autobiography (London: Simon & Schuster, 2007).

28 Peter W. Singer, "Pakistan's Madrassahs: Ensuring a System of Education not Jihad," Brookings Institute Analysis Paper, No. 14(November 2001),

29 "The State of Sectarianism in Pakistan," International Crisis Group, Asia Report, No. 95 (April 18, 2005), p. 11.

30 There are two types of madrasas in Pakistan: those providing basic Islamic education and those that play a part in promoting external jihad and preach a violent form of Islam. For more information, see: "Pakistan: Karachi's Madrasas and Violent Extremism," International Crisis Group, Asia Report, No. 130 (March 29, 2007); "Pakistan: Madrasas, Extremism and the Military," International Crisis Group, Asia Report, No. 36 (July 29, 2002), p. 9. [Report amended on July 15, 2005]; Singer, "Pakistan's Madrassahs."

31 There were rumors that as the party prepared for the January 2008 elections Bhutto asked candidates to swear on the Koran that they would not form alliances for political gains. Those who swore allegiance come from the North-West Frontier Province, an Islamist area. Mushtaq Paracha, "Benazir Makes Candidates Swear on Quran," The News (Pakistan), December 13, 2007,

32 On both occasions it was allegations of corruption largely directed toward her husband, Asif Ali Zardari that brought her downfall, especially as she refused to remove him from the political world.

33 Benazir Bhutto needed the new National Assembly to approve the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which is the agreement that she and President Musharraf signed that allowed her to return to Pakistan and partake in the political system. The NRO grants amnesty to leaders charged with corruption between 1986 and 1999, provided the Supreme Court and the National Assembly choose to accept it. (There were concerns that Chaudhry would reject the NRO following a legal challenge by Sharif.) A National Assembly stacked with PPP members is likely to ratify the NRO. It is noteworthy that one case of corruption not covered by the Ordinance is the Iraqi "oil for food" program. The Post Monitoring/Agencies, "No Reply from BB: Musharraf," The Post (Pakistan), October 13, 2007,; Jane Perlez, "Bhutto Stirs Distrust as well as Hope," International Herald Tribune, November 11, 2007,; Oliver Warren, "Benazir Bhutto--Symbol of Modernity, but Accused of Corruption," The Times, September 14, 2007; Fred Attewill and Agencies, "Corruption Charges Against Bhutto Dropped," The Guardian, October 2, 2007.

34 Her first child, Bilawal, was born on September 21, 1988, and the elections were held on November 16, 1988. In terms of the election, Bhutto asserts that more than half the voting population was unable to vote because people needed to show national identity cards in order to do so, which most of her natural supporters lacked. Bhutto, Daughter of the East, pp. 382-90.

35 Saeed Shafqat notes four specific instances in which Bhutto antagonized the military establishment: First, she attempted to rein in the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate and even claimed that it was undermining her government. As part of this, she replaced the powerful head of the Directorate, Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul, with retired Lieutenant-General Shams ur-Rehman Kallu, whom Zia had forced into retirement after Kallu suggested that Zia resign as military chief of staff while he was president. Second, she challenged the issue of who (president or prime minister) has the constitutional authority to appoint the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Third was the Pucca Qila incident of May 1990, where clashes between Sindhis and Mohajirs left hundreds of people dead. Fourth, Bhutto wanted to extend the term of Lieutenant-General Alam Jan Mehsud, the corps commander in Lahore, even though the Joint Chiefs Staff Committee opposed it. Saeed Shafqat, "Pakistan under Benazir Bhutto," Asian Survey, Vol. 36, No. 7 (July 1995), pp. 660-63.

36 John Kifner, "Bhutto Ousts Powerful Intelligence Chief," The New York Times, May 26, 1989.

37 Mahmood Monshipouri and Amjad Samuel, "Development and Democracy in Pakistan: Tenuous or Plausible Nexus?," Asian Survey, Vol. 35, No. 11 (November 1995), pp. 981-82.

38 The demand for a large military budget stems from Pakistan's (and especially the military's) Indian paranoia. Pakistan has always felt threatened by its large neighbor, and to that end, it needed a large military expenditure to defend itself. Weaver, Pakistan; Jones, Pakistan; Haqqani, Pakistan; Cohen, The Idea of Pakistan.

39 A report by the World Bank noted that in the 1990s girls between the ages of one and four had a 66 percent higher mortality rate than boys of the same age group. Nancy Birdsall, Adeel Malik, and Milan Vaishnav, "Poverty and the Social Sectors: The World Bank in Pakistan 1990-2003," Centre for Global Development, June 1, 2005 [Revised August 29, 2005],

40 Bhutto, Daughter of the East.

41 On Benazir's economic failures, see Robert Looney, "Pakistan's Economy: Achievements, Progress, Constraints and Progress," in Hafeez Malik (ed.), Pakistan: Founders' Aspirations and Today's Realities (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 218 and 235. On her clashes with the judiciary, see Robert LaPorte, Jr., "Pakistan in 1996," Asian Survey, Vol. 37, No. 2 (February 1997), pp. 118-25.

42 The international community came to ignore many of Bhutto's shortcomings and accepted the myth that her father was a great Pakistani democrat executed by a cruel military dictator. See, for example, Mahmood Monshipouri and Amjad Samuel, "Development and Democracy in Pakistan: Tenuous or Plausible Nexus?," Asian Survey, Vol. 35, No. 11 (November 1995), pp. 973-89; Cohen. The Idea of Pakistan; Weaver, Pakistan.

43 Qaiser Khan Afridi, "Benazir Bhutto Will Be Installed Next PM, Says JI," The Post (Pakistan), December 13, 2007,

44 An April 2006 World Bank report stated: "Pakistan is better placed for an economic takeoff today than at any time in the past 15 years. Ambitious programs of economic reform, recently launched and complemented by important outside help in debt restructuring and concessional financing, have not only spurred recovery but set the stage for accelerated, sustained and sustainable growth. Pursuing policies to stimulate private investment and higher productivity, Pakistan could see per capita real GDP increase over the next decade by over 5 percent on average. That forecast for 2006-2015 is optimistic, but not inconceivable." "Pakistan Growth and Export Competitiveness," Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Sector Unit South Asia Region, World Bank, Report No. 35499-PK (April 25, 2006),

45 "Pakistan Promoting Rural Growth and Poverty Reduction," World Bank, March 30, 2007,

46 Bruce Wallace, "Skepticism Tinges Support for Bhutto," Los Angeles Times, December 3, 2007,,1,1413433.story?track=rss.

47 Ibid.

48 Reportedly, Islamic militants in the North West Frontier Province have been burning down girls schools. They oppose the education of girls as being unnecessary and improper. They believe girls should not venture out of the home because it might affect Pakistani society, as educated women tend to have fewer children and be more politically active and aware of their rights. David Montero, "Pakistani Girls' Schools in Radicals' Sights," Christian Science Monitor, May 31, 2007.

49 Interestingly, the MMA did rather poorly in the tribal areas (especially in the North West Frontier Province), while the more secular Awami National Party (ANP) did well. See, for example, "Editorial: Surprisingly Great Election is Only a First Step," Daily Times (Pakistan), February 20, 2008,\02\20\story_20-2-2008_pg3_1.

50 "PPP to Tackle Menace of Extremism: Bhutto," The News (Pakistan), December 12, 2007,

51 Hassan Abbas, "Who Tried to Kill Bhutto," Terrorism Focus, Vol. 4, Issue 34 (October 24, 2007), pp. 2-3.

52 Arguably, the army encouraged her first removal from office because it felt that she did not respect it and the institution enough. Shafqat, "Pakistan under Benazir Bhutto."

53 President Musharraf's recent changes in the military emphasize this, in that he has surrounded himself with men who have shown loyalty to him over the years and therefore are unlikely to undermine his position as a civilian president. Declan Walsh, "Musharraf Says an Emotional Farewell," The Guardian, November 29, 2007; Shahan Mufti, "Ashfaq Kayani: The New Man with the Baton in Pakistan," Christian Science Monitor, November 29, 2007.

54 See for example, Zahid Hussein and Bronwen Maddox, "Benazir Bhutto Blames Enemies Within the Government for Suicide Bombing," The Times, October 20, 2007; Declan Walsh, "Bhutto's Return Sparks Assassination Fears," The Guardian, October 15, 2007; Simon Montlake, "Bhutto Eyes Pakistan Return, Fears Assassination," Christian Science Monitor, October 16, 2007; Christina Lamb, "Angry Pakistanis Turn Against Army," The Times, January 13, 2008.

55 Moshin Babbar, "No Alliance with Musharraf's Allies," The Post (Pakistan), February 20, 2008,

56 Sharif has already claimed that Musharraf is trying to drive a wedge between the PPP and the PML-N. "Mush Trying to 'Drive Wedge' Between PPP and PML-N: Sharif," The Times of India, March 2, 2008,

57 According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, from January 1 to March 4, 2008, 326 civilians and 151 security force personnel died as the result of terrorist violence. In the whole of 2007, the figures were 1,523 civilians and 597 security force personnel, a combined total of 2,120 people. The figure for the whole of 2006 is 608 civilians and 325 security force personnel (combined total of 933); for 2005 it stood at 430 and 81 respectively (combined total of 511). One could argue that if the attacks continue at this right, 2008 could be the bloodiest year in Pakistan's history in terms of internal terrorist attacks. "Casualties of Terrorist Violence in Pakistan," South Asia Terrorism Portal,

58 Farhana Ali and Mohammad Shehzad, "Pakistan's Red Mosque Return," Terrorism Monitor, Vol. 5, Issue 20 (October 25, 2007), pp. 3-6.

59 Khaleeq Ahmed and Farhan Sharif, "Bhutto, Sharif Parties May Hurt Pro-Musharraf Group in Election,", December 13, 2007,; "Editorial: Surprisingly Great Election is Only a First Step," Daily Times (Pakistan), February 20, 2008,\02\20\story_20-2-2008_pg3_1.

60 Musharraf has endeavored to silence media outlets critical of his regime. Fasih Ahmed, "Choking the Channels," Newsweek, November 20, 2007.

61 There have been demonstrations demanding Chaudhry's return to the bench that required police intervention; these will continue until the lawyers led by Aitzaz Ahsan, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, feel that their anger has been addressed.

62 As prime minister, Sharif undertook many of the policies that he now accuses Musharraf of doing. For example, in December 1998 and January 1999, his government demanded that the News/Jang group remove 16 journalists that were critical of the government. When the Jang management refused, the government charged the group with tax evasion. In May 1999, the government charged Najam Sethi with treason over an anti-Pakistan speech that Sethi gave in New Delhi. In relation to Bhutto and Zardari, the Sharif government attempted to use the couple's convictions for corruption to disqualify them from public office and confiscate their property. Hasan-Askari Rizvi, "Pakistan in 1999: Back to Square One," Asian Survey.Vol. 40, No. 1 (January- February, 2000), pp. 208-18.

63 Quoted from A.B Shamsul, "Development and Democracy in Malaysia," in Hans Antlov and Tak-wing Ngo (eds.), The Cultural Construction of Politics in Asia (Richmond: Curzon Press, 2000), p. 87.