Letter from Karachi – by Jason Burke
A new Pakistani everyman—Mehran man—is increasingly defining the country’s identity
…. Given the dysfunctional nature of Pakistani democracy, we cannot ignore Mehran man. Apart from anything else, the army is full of Mehran men. During a week I spent with the Pakistani army, the heritage of Sandhurst seemed largely restricted to the whitewashed stones aligned outside segregated messes for senior officers, junior officers, non-commissioned officers and other ranks. The links to America are more material—helicopters, jeeps and ammunition—but no more profound. Conversations with officers reveals that their understanding of Pakistan’s best interests differs radically from that which London or Washington would like them to have. As for the other pillar of non-elected power in Pakistan, a lot of bureaucrats drive Mehrans too, or at least did before being promoted.
All this poses problems for the west. Our policy towards Pakistan has long been based on finding the interlocutor who resembles us the most—Pervez Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto, now her widower—and then trying to persuade them to fit in with our agenda. But the people we are talking to are going to find themselves more and more cut off, culturally and politically, from those they lead, and less and less capable of implementing the policies that we want. Pakistanis are increasingly defining their own interests, independently of the views of their pro-western leaders. And Mehran man will soon be in the driving seat.
To read complete article: The Express Tribune