I remember back when Musharraf came to power and kicked all the politicians out of Pakistan that many greeted this with what at best could be described as ambivalence. A number of people, including prominent Lib Dems, were of the opinion that while military coups are, of course, a Bad Thing, the self-serving corrupt political class in Pakistan had had its day, failed and that Musharraf might be able to bring a period of stability out of which genuine politics could hold sway.
Eight years on and I’m not convinced that Musharraf has any firmer grip on the country than his predecessors. And for all the accusations flying around that Bhutto was merely feathering her own nest, many of which were no doubt not entirely groundless, she lost her life today quite literally by putting her head up above the parapet.
That’s a kind of politics we can only imagine in the West. How many of us would have gone back to a country with complete confidence that our enemies would kill us given half a chance? Whatever else you might say about her, personal greed was not what drove her.
It’s a dark and insane world out there, and I don’t see anything to suggest things are likely to get better over the next 12 months. Here’s to a 2008 with a few fewer people willing to die for principles and a few more people willing to die for humanity.