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Transition or transformation?

The timing of Pakistan's general election could have a profound effect on the future of the country - and not necessarily to the west's liking

By Kishwer Falkner   January 2008

After Benazir Bhutto’s assassination last week left western policy towards Pakistan in tatters, a clearer picture is now emerging. If, as is likely, an election is held within weeks, party politics will reassert itself, though not necessarily with an outcome to the west’s liking.

The current thinking in British and US circles was founded on a deal between Bhutto and Musharraf, whereby a transition to democracy would have led to Bhutto opening up the democratic option, but on the understanding that the military would remain in the frame. This was intended to tie in the military to the anti-Islamist agenda.…

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