Musharraf: Now, more than ever!

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is not very popular with anyone these days. Americans of both parties find his actions against Islamic extremists insufficient, the extremists want his head on a stake, and the rest of Pakistan yearns for a return to free elections. And yet, he is probably Pakistan’s – and America’s – best hope at the present, as Amir Taheri writes in the New York Post :

A closer look at Pakistan’s complex situation, however, shows a different picture. As things heat up, Pakistan may need Musharraf more than at any other time.

* Faced with a growing Islamist challenge, the last thing Pakistan needs is a military coup or another dramatic regime change. Any institutional crisis at the summit of the state would only undermine its legitimacy and thus encourage elements that wish to replace the republic with a Taliban-style “Islamic emirate.”

* No charismatic figure now exists to bring the nation’s disparate forces together at a time of dangerous transition.

* And Pakistan can ill-afford another military coup economically. Tanks rolling in Islamabad could quickly undo Musharraf’s success in restoring the economy to growth and attracting unprecedented foreign investment.

Read the entire article at the link above. With a nuclear-armed Islamic nation, Musharraf may not represent the best of all imaginable worlds, but he could be the best of the likely ones.

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