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Pakistan Under Benazir Bhutto 1993-1996 Dilemma of Democracy - 1

Pakistan Under Benazir Bhutto 1993-1996 Dilemma of Democracy - 1

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  • Author Name : Najam Sethi 

Both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif didn't acquit themselves well in the "trial of democracy" from 1988 to 1993. They did worse confronting the "dilemma of democracy" from 1993-1999 - how an elected government can complete its five year term and also provide a level playing field to the "government-in-waiting" to turn the tables at the end of the period. In consequence, Pakistan was driven straight into the jaws of martial law in 1999.

This volume traces the rise and fall of the second Bhutto regime from 1993-96. It records how, through the good offices of the Establishment, she began on a conciliatory note with Nawaz Sharif by offering to nominate a consensus candidate (Wasim Sajjad) as President in exchange for jointly undoing the notorious Clause 58-2(B) of the 8th Constitutional Amendment which hung like the sword of Damocles over every prime minister. It tracks the negotiations to breaking point, compelling her to nominate her "own man", Farooq Leghari, to the Presidency. It records Nawaz Shun cunning ways to drive a wedge between Leghari and Bhutto, which eventually led the former to use the 8th Amendment to sack the latter.

The major policy issues that preoccupied Benazir Bhutto in her second term were nuclear proliferation, MQM terrorism in Karachi and conflict in Kashmir. The book explains how the US applied economic and military sanctions to pressure Pakistan to cap, freeze and roll back its nuclear programme but failed to achieve its objective. It details how she successfully tackled and put down MQM terrorism through effective use of civil-military power. And it records how she teamed up with the military to promote jihad in India-Occupied Kashmir.

The book is about foul play by both Bhutto and Sharif; foreign policy blues; warlordism in Afghanistan; mythology of Mohajirism; nuclear policy; Mehrangate; General Mirza Aslam Beg's "grand plan"; threat of an India-Pak nuclear war; journalists for sale; pains of privatization; Indo-Pak relations; doctrine of necessity; corruption and Surreygate. The analysis covers the mind of Benazir Bhutto, her Achilles heel and fatal flaws.

It is indispensable reading for the student of history who wishes to understand how and why democracy failed to take root in the 1990s.