we interrupt this vacation...
As I was driving towards Little Rock late this morning, a text message from my father arrived, giving the news that former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated.
The implications of this are huge; Pakistan is arguably the most strategically important country in the fight against terrorism by Islamic extremists. It is also a nuclear power. The United States very badly needs a stable, cooperative government in Pakistan. This is why we've tolerated the military dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf, which is anything but democratic.
The Bush administration had focused most of its diplomatic efforts on working out a power-sharing arrangement between Bhutto and Musharraf to ensure that there would be more stability and cooperation within and from Pakistan. Bhutto's assassination puts that progress towards democracy into serious doubt.
The big question is who will take her place as head of the Pakistan People's Party, two weeks before scheduled elections. Aitzaz Ahsan is one of several names being thrown about as a possible replacement. As far as I know, he's still under house arrest. I know his family would appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers.