Let’s face it: President Musharraf has been a disappointment. Fresh from the coup, clutching his Pekingese, openly admiring of Ataturk, the General was a welcome change from the 15th-amendment-wielding Amir-ul-Momineen-to-be Nawaz Sharif. But his attempts to drag Pakistan into the 21st century have been sadly lacklustre. The Hudood laws stand, public school syllabi still reflect the murder of history of the Zia years, the litany over Kashmir continues, I still have to declare Mr. Ahmad an imposter nabi to get a passport, and worst of all, the bearded ones are actually in government in one-and-a-half provinces,
But then he goes off and does something utterly unexpected. On September 17, President Musharraf will become the first Pakistani leader to address the American Jewish Congress. Is this a first step towards recognizing Israel?
I certainly hope so. (Side-note: What’s with not recognizing a country anyway? Are you implying that it doesn’t exist? The Palestinian Authority recognizes Israel, as do Egypt and Jordan. Other than looking doltish, what benefit does Pakistan draw from not doing so?)
President Musharraf’s detractors will have the inevitable criticisms: he’s bowing to his American masters’ wishes, it’s all a Zionist/Hindu/Ahmadi conspiracy, the Jews betrayed Mohammed (!) etc. Whatever his reasons, the man has courage. We applaud you, sir.