Musharraf: Ulterior Motives
OK, so Pakistan has been dismissed from the Commonwealth. Again. Mobilisation of shame, as our international law professor called it (to much derision from the small but vocal right wing of the classroom).
But it appears that Musharraf's gamble may be paying off after all. The State of Emergency looks like effectively bending the democratic process, not by eliminating the elections, but by provoking the opposition to withdraw in protest. This way, Musharraf wins without even having to rig the poll, which works very nicely for him.
And he can also hold his hands up and say that he's shedding his uniform too, with the judgement of his hand-picked supreme court all he needs to cloak himself in semi-legitimacy. Ms Bhutto might just have to return to the devil's bargain she was already making in order to gain any kind of influence at all. Which would suit the General (retd.) very nicely indeed.
Will the Supreme Court rulings serve as a trigger to restore the process of reconciliation between Gen Musharraf and Ms Bhutto?
The outcome appears to depend on two things; whether Gen Musharraf actually quits the army and whether he restores the constitution and the judiciary.
In the first case, the general view is that he will probably quit his army post as soon as the Election Commission has formally declared him winner of the October vote.
This is because Gen Musharraf badly needs to offer up something to the Western powers that have been pressuring him to end emergency rule.
Analysts say he may even lift emergency rule ahead of elections, due in the second week of January.
This would score points with Western powers. But it could also influence the domestic environment by dividing the opposition which is now threatening an election boycott and a united front if the constitution is not restored.