Posted by: sean | March 13, 2007

Bhutto on democracy and al-Qaida in Pakistan

Madame Bhutto pens a piece from Dubai that’s critical of Pakistan’s commitment to fighting al-Qaida and returning to democracy:

The West has been shortsighted in dealing with Pakistan. When the United States aligns with dictatorships and totalitarian regimes, it compromises the basic democratic principles of its foundation — namely, life, liberty and justice for all. Dictatorships such as Musharraf’s suppress individual rights and freedoms and empower the most extreme elements of society. Oppressed citizens, unable to represent themselves through other means, often turn to extremism and religious fundamentalism.

Restoring democracy through free, fair, transparent and internationally supervised elections is the only way to return Pakistan to civilization and marginalize the extremists. A democratic Pakistan, free from the yoke of military dictatorship, would cease to be a breeding ground for international terrorism.

Indeed, Pakistan’s return to democracy is essential to America’s success in South and Central Asia, as well as in the Middle East, as democratization is an integral part of fighting terrorism. Wouldn’t it therefore be prudent to tie aid money to genuine political reform?

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