So, the question we dare to ask now is, have the Pakistanis, in this decade, managed to make their dictatorship much more imperfect? Let me also dare to argue that they have done so.
I will still not take bets on whether the army would resort to the familiar “off with your heads” approach. History would make that look inevitable. Pakistan, after all, is a country where people patiently wait for the next coup during interregnums of bonsai democracy, and where coups take place without a bullet fired, facing no resistance. But what if the brass blinks?
There is, in fact, a serious chance this time that they might. Much has changed in Pakistan and the world in general in the past decade that makes military coups of old so much more anachronistic. And it is not just the Arab Spring.
There is a democratic upsurge around the world. Even