My friend and colleague Mustafa Qadri published an article in the weekend’s LA Times regarding his views on Pakistan and the West’s consistent misunderstanding of the situation there:
Despite millions of dollars spent by the State Department on opinion polls in Pakistan, there has been a catastrophic failure to understand the local mind-set. As recently as Monday, that failure was in evidence when President Obama’s envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard C. Holbrooke, praised Zardari, of all people, for his “statesmanlike” decision to reinstate the chief justice.
Where was the praise for the chief justice who had braved two authoritarian presidents, or for the hundreds of thousands of ordinary Pakistanis who risked assault and arrest to support him? To ordinary Pakistanis, it sent the familiar signal that the United States supports the autocrats over the people.
The Chaudhry victory will not solve Pakistan’s problems. But by demonstrating the importance of functioning and accountable institutions, the country’s lawyers may well have found an opening for the long road out of the country’s present hell.
Is the West watching?