If Pervez Musharraf exists at all in the American consciousness, it is as a slightly nebulous, vaguely absurd figure from the early years of the War on Terror. Before the Osama Bin Laden raid and regular drone strikes, there was Our Man in Islamabad: relatively liberal (by the standards of dictators), and relatively secular (by the standards of Pakistani dictators). He gave speeches about the evils of terrorism, and was almost assassinated by suicide bombers.
It sounds like it could be, after his party was nearly obliterated in parliamentary elections Tuesday: “Musharraf should be preparing a C-130 for Turkey,” Mr. Ahsan said, referring to Mr. Musharraf’s statements that he might retire to Turkey, where he spent part of his childhood. Two politicians close to Mr. Musharraf have said in the past week that the president was well aware of the drift in the country against him and they suggested that he would not remain in office if the new government was in direct opposition to him.
When I arrived in Bombay a few days ago, the newpapers and television were dominated by coverage of the Indian cricket team's failure to qualify for the World Cup. Outraged government ministers promised citizens that in the future players would spend less time filming advertisements and socializing with women. One crucial loss came at the hands of Bangladesh, which was particularly humiliating. Now, however, there are stories everywhere about Pakistani President Musharraf's decision to sack his country's chief justice (I gather this is a big story everywhere).