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Trouble in Islamabad

Pakistan is once again teetering on the edge of crisis. "Managed" democracy may be the best hope

By Kishwer Falkner   November 2007

How far should the west go in propping up a Musharraf-Bhutto partnership in Pakistan, assuming that it comes to pass in the next few weeks? In Washington and London, there is a new urgency behind this question. Pakistan, with its militant mullahs and prickly, nuclear-backed nationalism, has always had the potential to cause the world a headache. But its domestic situation is now more fragile than at any time since the 1970s.

The army is fighting insurgencies along Pakistan’s northwestern frontier with Afghanistan, where al Qaeda and the Taliban have successfully regrouped. These regions, the “federally administered tribal areas,” have…

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