Playing Both Ends Against Middle Doomed Musharraf

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2008 8:05 AM CDT
A Pakistani seller listens the address of country's President Pervez Musharraf at an electronic shop in Islamabad, Pakistan on Monday, Aug.18, 2008.    (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
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(Newser) – In the wake of 9/11, Pervez Musharraf transformed himself into America’s most steadfast ally in the war against terrorism. Or so it appeared. In truth, Pakistan never cut its ties with the Taliban, which grew under his watch, writes the New York Times’ Jane Perlez. For years, the administration sent billions in aid anyway, but by the time Musharraf resigned today, even Washington believed the double game had to end.

Having it both ways was Musharraf’s special hubris. He pledged to corral the terrorist-training madrassas, but handed the task to an uncooperative religious ministry to ignore. He expanded rights for women and media freedoms, but disdained democracy, a failing that ultimately doomed him. “Musharraf tried to construct a modern enlightened state,” said a former cabinet member. “But he proved you cannot do this on… a patronage-riven and police-oriented political machine.”