No Coup In Pakistan This Time


Tarek Fatah writes this week in the Ottowa Citizen that the days of US propping up dictatorships and supporting coups is over, and this bodes well for stability and modernisation in Pakistan.

Tarek makes a number of crucial points:

  • The government has started down a path of honesty that is troubling some of Pakistan’s elites.
  • There have been some veiled threats against the government by these elites.
  • Pakistan is a democracy. The people have elected the government, and during the next elections, they will have a choice again.
  • President Obama will not allow another coup to destabalize Pakistan.

Tarak Fatah really gets to the point of the matter when he writes:

Indications that the gloves were off and the game-plan to undermine Zardari was unfolding became apparent when a former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. and U.K., who served her military master Gen. Pervez Musharraf well, wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times questioning president Zardari’s very ability to govern. Knowing her craft well, former ambassador Maleeha Lodhi hinted at Zardari’s removal from power, without saying so. She wrote: “The question that the country’s governance deficit raises is not so much whether the ruling coalition can or will keep power. It is whether it is capable of using that power for national and public purpose.”

For the first time in Pakistan’s history, the ruling coalition government is working closely with the opposition in trying to build a consensus over domestic and foreign policies. But this is not going down well in Pakistan’s military-industrial complex or with the right-wing pro-Taliban Islamists led by the Jamaat-e-Islami which has recently signed a co-operation agreement with the Chinese Communist Party. Beijing too is uncomfortable with the thawing of relations between India and Pakistan for geopolitical reasons.

There is no question the civilian government in Islamabad has fumbled the ball on many occasions and deserves to be criticized. However, in a democracy, a government is elected and removed by the will of the people through the ballot box, not through a civilian or military putsch.

If the people of Pakistan find the ruling coalition government to have not met their aspirations, they will vote them out of office in the next elections. However, this is not what the elites of Pakistan desire. They are squirming for another palace coup and for all their rhetorical anti-Americanism, are hoping the U.S. would facilitate one.

Fortunately for all of us, the current occupant of the White House knows Pakistan very well and, as shown with the coup in Honduras, the days of the Bush-Reagan administrations that tolerated and propped up military dictators, is over.

Message to all those cappuccino elites of Pakistan currently vacationing in London, New York and Ottawa, and salivating at the thought of the U.S. facilitating the ousting of Zardari: Barack Hussein Obama cooks better Daal-Keema than you or your “khansama,” and has more respect for your country and its constitution than you ever did. He is not going to underwrite the coming back of Gen. Musharraf. So go back and wait for the next elections.