2007 is of course the 60th anniversary of Pakistani and Indian independence. Tariq Ali, in a not unusually trenchant essay in in the London Review of Books summarizes the predicament of that regime and the flawed reading in the Western capitals and elite media of developments there:
The European and North American papers give the impression that the main, if not the only, problem confronting Pakistan is the power of the bearded fanatics skulking in the Hindu Kush, who as the papers see it are on the verge of taking over the country. In this account, all that stops a jihadi finger finding the nuclear trigger is [General Pervez] Musharraf. Alas, it now seems he might drown in a sea of troubles and so the helpful State Department has pushed out an over-inflated raft in the shape of Benazir Bhutto.
In fact, the threat of a jihadi takeover of Pakistan is remote. There is no possibility of a takeover by religious extremists unless the army wants one, as in the 1980s, when General Zia-ul-Haq handed over the Ministries of Education and Information to the Jamaat-e-Islami [a Muslim fundamentalist group], with dire results. There are serious problems confronting Pakistan, but these are usually ignored in Washington, by both the administration and the financial institutions. The lack of a basic social infrastructure encourages hopelessness and despair, but only a tiny minority turns to jihad.