One wonders at the ongoing drama i.e Pakistani politics with the same unalloyed glee that marks a toddler's first visit to the zoo, sometimes peppered with disappointments like watching the wart-riddled monitor die and sometimes marveling at the inspired antics of the resident ape, exhausting its repertoire to draw a few more laughs from the gathered mob. The resignation of President Pervez Musharraf figures somewhere in between.
While it is being hailed in Pakistan as a great victory of her people and a reconfirmation of the masses' recurring belief in civil governance and lasting order its a shock to see journalists in India toe that line blindly. There are headlines in every major newspaper touting this as the epoch-making event that is to shape the future of our neighboring nation in some unprecedented manner. They are speculating the rise of democratic traditions, faith in judiciary and marginalization of the Army's involvement in its public life. I believe the assertions couldn't have been further from truth. A country that has been most miserably swaying between corrupt politicians and military dictators since its inception is liable to break into joyous revelries once in a while when a dictator steps down to make way for another. The fun part this time around is that we don't still know who it will be. And perhaps thats what adds that little zing of anticipation to these celebrations.
The USA has marooned its 'trusted ally' and seems more than ready to 'walk forward' with his arch enemies in the Pakistan Senate. Saudi Arabia, expectedly will again take on the responsibility of being the caretaker of the political dumping ground that it is fast turning into. First Nawaz Sharif, now Musharraf. No wonder the General hopes to come back and rule, soon. The PPP-PML coalition, having rid themselves of the Greater Evil will now have nothing to do but fight each other. Zardari will play the 'Bilawal-card' sooner or later as will Sharif try to consolidate his gains. The Army will be busy firing from across the LOC, keeping their minds off the civilian hotchpotch for a while and wait for the next able officer in their ranks who can Kargil his way into limelight. The ISI will keep the cauldron simmering in Kashmir and the likes of Al-Qaida, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and Jaish-e-Mohammad will find the Afghan-Baloch border too hot (courtesy some joint military operations) and hence migrate to the east.
And to think that all this has been precipitated by Benazir Bhutto's assassination. That is common knowledge. Now it waits to be seen if the ramifications become as far reaching as impressing a lasting change in the political landscape of South-east Asia. Or is it asking for too much ?
Once again the world has seen how One Death can change things. Ask Ashok Todi.