The Good News Coup?

Pakistanis exult over the fall of Sharif. But will military rule make the volatile subcontinent any safer?

Military coups used to be messy affairs, rife with panic and barricades and bloodshed. After the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Pakistan last week, there was cheering. In the span of 48 hours, army chief General Pervez Musharraf detained Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, sacked the Cabinet, suspended Parliament and the constitution, and imposed virtual martial law. Yet most Pakistanis barely shrugged. Shops remained open. Telephone service was restored. Children went to school. In Sharif's hometown of Lahore, people danced in the streets and distributed candies to celebrate the coup. "We don't want democracy," said Mohammed Tariq, 22, a taxi...

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