What is the best-case scenario out of the present mess? Benazir Bhutto and President Musharraf sharing power is what most sane observers would prefer, with the possibility of some other name (Nawaz Sharif?) and some other general (Lt Gen Kiyani?) making up an alternate politician-military alliance. Certainly, that resolution could ease the current turmoil, returning Pakistan to an uneasy democratic path. But it will still be a very unstable entity with the distinct possibility that Benazir or Pervez could be assassinated, cast aside or forced into exile.
It is a politically incorrect thing to say, but it must be said: the crisis in Pakistan is not a crisis of democracy. The immediate and inescapable priority in the land of the pure is to quickly clean up the state of extremist elements which, unfortunately, have been created, spawned and financed by that very same state. The Pakistani army does not have the guts or the will or the capability to crush the million Islamic mutinies erupting 100 kilometres outside the national capital. Only a massive and sustained international effort backed by military force (in which the Pakistan army plays a marginal but consensual role) can rid our neighbourhood of "freedom fighters". The task, doubtless, will require an extraordinary degree of multilateral cooperation and audacity. Not surprisingly, I have yet to read a single line promoting that course of action.