General Musharraf was a smooth-talking dictator, but no more than that. He instituted military rule in an illegal coup and continued to govern in the interests of himself and a narrow elite, continually rolling back surviving vestiges of the rule of law in Pakistan. Under his rule Pakistan stagnated and the economic gap to neighbouring India grew so large as to be insurmountable for at least a generation. Dictatorship does not fight extremism, it promotes extremism in desperate and repressed opponents with no legitimate outlet for opposition.
It says volumes for where our far right New Labour government now stands on world affairs that they regret the political demise of this odious dictator. Here is David Miliband, the neo-con muppet who is New Labour’s hope for political revival:
“The Musharraf years yielded significant dividends… It is important to highlight President Musharraf’s commitment to tackle terrorism, to promote dialogue with India, especially over Kashmir, and to root out corruption,” he said.
Yeah, right. Come to think of it, why don’t we have military dictators all over the developing world? Plainly Miliband holds that these dusky foreigners need the smack of firm government. Why Miliband believes that rooting out corruption is a good thing, while his own government pro-actively harbours and protects it in the BAE scandal, is beyond me.
Miliband is no more than a foolish, shallow little disgrace. Despite New Labour’s best efforts, this is still in many ways a lovely country. It is both astonishing and appalling that it should be represented by someone as insubstantive as Miliband.