Aug 25, 2008
Pakistan’s president, General Pervez Musharraf, finally decided to resign. He had been in power since the coup d’etat of 1999.
He made this decision after several weeks of confrontation with the new government coalition that came together after the opposition’s victory in last February’s legislative elections, and after the U.S., whose faithful ally he had been, broke with him. The announcement of his resignation led to demonstrations of rejoicing in most cities, especially by supporters of the Pakistan People’s Party, the party of Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in November 2007.
The government may have changed, but Pakistan will continue to suffer from a serious economic crisis. And it will remain an essential pawn in the policy that Washington pursues in this part of the world, especially toward Afghanistan, which borders Pakistan. Under pressure from the U.S., the new Pakistani government is carrying on a vast month-long offensive along the border in an attempt to destroy the bases of the Afghan Islamist militias.
For 40 years, every leader of the Pakistani state, whether they were civilian or military, acted in agreement with U.S. policy in the region. The U.S. used every one of them to control a region that is vital for its strategy. In the early years, U.S. imperialism was in part responsible for the development, especially in Afghanistan, of Islamist organizations, using them to attack the Soviet Union at its edges.
Today, the U.S. fears the growing hold of these same Islamist organizations over the region and attempts to organize other military forces against them.
The explosive situation in Pakistan will continue.