Pakistan in the Line of Fire: Which Options left?

Sahabzada Abdus-Samad Khan’s excellent analysis at World Security Network:

Screenhunter_5No one expected that one fatal move – the removal of the Chief Justice – would have unleashed such a rash of democratic forces that would so rapidly lead to the serious political impasse Pakistan is faced with today. In the process, President Musharraf lost much of his most important constituency – the professionals and the middle class.

For the U.S., the assassination of Benazir Bhutto means that it is left with little or no options, seeing that Washington had pinned its hopes on the “Musharraf Plus” package. The latter envisaged the President in control of foreign policy and national security matters, and a Benazir Bhutto-led government focusing on all other matters of state (and giving the country a democratic façade).

Not realizing that such blatant “engineering” of the Pakistani political dispensation is no longer viable and will only exacerbate a tenuous situation, the U.S. is scrambling to devise a “Plan B” and is purportedly negotiating with the leader of the only other major party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), led by former PM Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif. This is all the more untenable in view of the seemingly irreconcilable differences between the President and the Sharifs.

More here.