The Return of Bhutto

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has announced that she will return to Pakistan on October 18th — and the people of Pakistan who are in an “anyone but Musharraf” mood are cheering the announcement. From AP:

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto will return to Pakistan from an eight-year exile on Oct. 18, her party said Friday. The government said she was free to come back but would have to face corruption cases against her.

Makhdoom Amin Fahim, vice president of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party, announced the date at a press conference and said that Bhutto would fly back to Karachi. Supporters, throwing flower petals over assembled party leaders, chanted: “Long Live Benazir! Prime Minister Benazir!”

“The people of Pakistan will get real democracy” after Bhutto’s return, Fahim said, speaking in front of a huge portrait of the party leader.

Again I will reiterate what I believe: Musharraf has wanted to transition back to democracy for a long time — manufactured events, both by political, insurgent, and foreign insurgent parties have prevented the removal of the uniform, and coalition of new parties.

I suspect he really wanted to put Pakistan in a position where the former-power parties that have traded rule on and off for all of Pakistan’s existence (Bhutto/Sharif/military – rinse and repeat for sixty years,) were extremely weakened, and in which new parties could form. He failed in that, with his best window having been last year.