I came across an excellent comparison between Egypt and Pakistan vis-a-vis the current events in Egypt (AKA “the second Egyptian revolution”) that I had to share. It was written by Irm Haleem.
The events in Egypt seem to me very reminiscent of the political history of Pakistan with its pendulous swings between military and civilian governments. Here are some general comparisons:
1. Civilian government, either overtly Islamist or comprised of a coalition of Islamist parties, is declared incompetent.
2. Military takes over.
3. Military, as an institution, is by far the most consolidated, cohesive and organized entity in the country, relatively speaking.
4. Interim government is appointed by the military, as currently in Egypt and the many, many times in the history of Pakistan.
5. Intermin government really plays a ceremonial role, allowing the military to fiddle with the constitution in a way that it’s political significance is maintained or increased without attracting too much unwanted attention.
6. New laws for elections are instituted, under the watchful eye of the military, most likely such that they effectively exclude from the electoral process any entity — such as the most uncompromising Islamists — that the military considers hostile to its political and institutional interests.
7. Enter indirect praetorianism!
8. Despite this, significant public opinion favors the military take-over, in both its direct and indirect manifestations.
9. Some of the most vociferous Islamists are excluded from the electoral process through the institutions of technicalities that ultimately will or do lead to the morphing of these groups into extremist parties. Likely in Egypt and currently in Pakistan.
10. Meanwhile, the opposition to the erstwhile government is frayed, fragmented and desperate to the point of having glaring fracture lines that seem to reduce the likelihood of the formation of any cohesive and viable government.
11. And therefore, again, the military’s political and institutional interests are bolstered.
DISCLAIMER: Of course, any country comparison suffers from some level of generalizations and can thus be criticized on those grounds. My comparison above cannot therefore escape this criticism.
I found this comparison to be very intriguing.