A coup in Pakistan will destabilise the region | world | Hindustan Times
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A coup in Pakistan will destabilise the region

Pakistan's civilian governments are typically short-lived and cast aside by military coups. This disastrous pattern could be repeating itself as the current civilian government comes under increasing pressure from the army and the Supreme Court.

world Updated: Jan 13, 2012 01:37 IST

Pakistan's civilian governments are typically short-lived and cast aside by military coups. This disastrous pattern could be repeating itself as the current civilian government comes under increasing pressure from the army and the Supreme Court.

This sort of byzantine infighting is hardly uncommon in Pakistan. But a stable Pakistan is critical to America's interests in the region. The army should focus on what it can do best: fight the militants working to bring down the state and destabilise the region. For its part, the civilian government needs to deal with Pakistan's severe economic troubles and repair a political culture in which voices of moderation are increasingly snuffed out.

No civilian government in Pakistan has ever finished its term. This one has survived longer than the others and is up for re-election by 2013. Every effort must be made to have that vote go forward so another civilian government can succeed it. The court needs to stay out of politics and focus on building a fair, unbiased legal system. Likewise the military. The generals say they don't want to govern, but no civilian will ever be able to do a competent job if the military keeps pulling the strings. Although relations with Pakistan are at an all-time low, the United States should keep engaging the country's civilian leaders and encouraging its civil society whenever possible.