Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sic transit tyrannis

So, Musharraf is gone, forced from office to avoid the humiliation of impeachment. And with him out of the way, Pakistan has finally returned to democracy after nine long years of military rule. It's a messy democracy, with strong disagreements between parties, but it has something that Musharraf's guns and uniforms and thuggery could never give him: legitimacy. No matter what you may think of Pakistan's politicians, they are at least elected by their people in reasonably credible elections. And that gives them a far greater right to run the country than someone who stuck a gun in the people's face and said "I'm the boss now".

Its not clear what Musharraf is going to do now. Hopefully leave the country and never come back. He may need to do that for his own safety anyway - no-one likes a deposed tyrant, and those who outstay their welcome tend to have unpleasant things happen to them. Saudi Arabia has been suggested as one safe haven, and he'd certainly fit right in with all the other failed dictators they're hosting. But I can't help but wonder why the US hasn't offered him a home. Musharraf has been their loyal servant in their "war on terror" for six years now; the least they could do is offer him safety now that he's been forced out.