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The Fading Popularity of Pakistan's President

photoSoon after he took power in a 1999 military coup, General Pervez Musharraf was heralded by the West as a force for democratic change in Pakistan.

Musharraf became the United States' closest ally in South Asia after September 11th. But support at home is dwindling.

Musharraf and his Western-style reforms have never been popular with Islamic radicals. But now, the murmurs of dissent are rising from the Pakistani mainstream. The military, the media, the nation's academics all take issue with Musharraf's perceived powergrab. They claim he's gone too far to keep his hold on power. Washington is worried about Musharraf's slide.

If the president is pushed out of office, he'd leave behind a potentially disasterous power vaccum. Sandwiched between Afghanistan and India, with the War on Terror on one side and the threat of nuclear war on the other, Pakistan is the last place Washington wants instability.

This hour, Washington worries about Musharraf's murky future.

Guests:

Shaheen Sehbai, former editor of The News, one of Pakistan's most respected English-language daily newspapers

Anthony Cordesman, Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

This program aired on July 15, 2002. The audio for this program is not available.

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