Meet the New Pakistan

Max Fisher in The Atlantic:

ScreenHunter_03 Apr. 22 11.20 Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari signed a sweeping Consitutional amendment into law yesterday, transferring much of his own power to the nation's traditionally weak Parliament. The amendment, by decentralizing the government and strengthening the Parliament as well provincial governments, stands to bring much-needed stability and openness to a state long plagued by autocracy and by the military's heavy influence. Pakistan's secretive and self-interested military — long permiated by Islamist ideology and (until recently) driven by an agenda of dominating neighboring Afghanistan and Kashmir via insurgent proxies — has, as a rule either coerced the president or replaced him outright, as in the military coup that established the presidency of General Pervez Musharraf. As Pakistan's president and military have wrestled for power, they have dragged the state through periods of instability and corruption that has exaccerbated poverty and, at times, provoked domestic terror. Pakistan's volatility and political infighting also make it far more difficult for foreign diplomats to influence the state. As a lead player in the Afghanistan and Kashmir conflicts, Pakistan's international cooperation is essential. Today's amendment could bring new stability to the country, improving Pakistan's internal governance and ultimately aiding U.S. interests.

More here. [Thanks to Feisal H. Naqvi.]