Photo: REX USA/Brian Harris / The Independent/Rex
As an outsider, the turmoil in Pakistan seems hard to properly understand. The military has been in control of the country for half of its existence, figures of power move in and out of exile, and handfuls upon handfuls of politically motivated killings go unsolved. But the New York Times reports that the landscape in the country may indeed be changing.
The most notable of the aforementioned political killings would be the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed during a gun and bomb attack in 2007 (during her bid for a return to office). The daughter of former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, she was a divisive political figure, but no matter your take on her ideology, her death was a tragedy and an injustice. It was also undoubtedly politically motivated, as she herself had expressed fears of assassination prior to her death. Furthermore, the investigation into the case was muddied, with the UN report lampooning the Pakistani's police failure to maintain any sort of forensic evidence — for instance, directly after the bombing the police hosed the car out, apparently on the orders of a high-ranking military official.
So, the news that Pakistan is actually prosecuting a person in the case of Bhutto's assassination is pretty groundbreaking. But, the fact that the person being indicted is former military ruler Pervez Musharraf is a giant paradigm shift. According to The New York Times, not only is it a sign that the botched investigation is unacceptable, but it also suggests that the once invincible military old guard isn't so untouchable anymore. While this case is mired in controversy — and notable for having missing or murdered witnesses, the CIA's announcement that Baitullah Mehsud (with the support of al-Qaeda) was responsible for the attack, and many other uncertainties — the move to prosecute top leaders is a surprising one. It's a clear indication that military clout may no longer put an individual above the law. (New York Times)