LATELY, Pervez Musharraf has been unburdening himself of some of his views on democracy. In a BBC interview, he said that while he believed in democracy, he did not consider the Western version of the system appropriate for Pakistan. And speaking at a youth forum in Karachi, he said that his coup-making predecessors had all acted in the national interest.
Elaborating on these themes in a conversation at his Karachi home, he told me that to strengthen democracy, there must be an institutional provision for the military to be represented in political decision-making at the highest level. This, he maintained, would prevent future coups, and would help forge a consensus between the civilian and military leadership.
I am old enough to recall General Ayub Khan’s mantra: “Parliamentary democracy does not suit the genius of the people of Pakistan.” This has been the recurring theme running through all our military governments as generals have sought to justify and legitimise their interventions.