Pervez Hoodbhoy in the LA Times:
Why has Musharraf failed so dramatically to stop the insurgency? One reason is that most of the public is hostile to government action against the extremists (and the rest offer tepid support at best). Most Pakistanis see the militants as America’s enemy, not their own. The Taliban is perceived as the only group standing up against the unwelcome American presence in the region. Some forgive the Taliban’s excesses because it is cloaked in the garb of religion. Pakistan, they reason, was created for Islam, and the Taliban is merely asking for Pakistan to be more Islamic.
Even normally vocal, urban, educated Pakistanis — those whose values and lifestyles would make them eligible for decapitation if the Taliban were to succeed in taking the cities — are strangely silent. Why? Because they see Musharraf and the Pakistan army as unworthy of support, both for blocking the path to democracy and for secretly supporting the Taliban as a means of countering Indian influence in Afghanistan.
There is merit to this view. Army rule for 30 of Pakistan’s 60 years as a country has left a terrible legacy. The army is huge, well-equipped, armed now with nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and has perhaps the world’s richest generals. Sitting or retired army officers govern provinces, run government agencies, administer universities, manage banks and make breakfast cereals.