Today seems a particularly fortuitous day to reflect on the leadership of Pakistan.
Former Pakistani Prime-Minister Nawaz Sharif swoops back after seven years of exile for his dramatic comeback today- with Pakistani media abuzz on the impact of his return.
Would he be exiled, executed or arrested? What would the impact of his comeback be in the wake of a year of disasters for the General Dictator Pervez Musharraf from sacked Chief justices, militant mosque massacres and secret deals with former Prime-Minister Benazir Bhutto?
The interesting piece in this political love triangle is of course the feudal fair-skinned princess Benazir Bhutto.
The case of Benazir is interesting . The first-ever democratically elected female leader (89-90, 93-96) of a modern Muslim-majority state her story is a lesson for those who jump too gleefully at the sight of a woman- any woman in circles of political power.
Certainly in feminist terms, having women in political office as decision-makers and power-players is lauded as good for women everywhere. The idea being with women in power, the interests of women would surely not be ignored.
Simone de Beauvoir once said that her agitation meant nothing if all it would achieve was that one day a woman could be “President of Hoover”.
Although we really wanted to believe in Benazir, and even cheered for her despite the accumulation of a flimsy dupatta and rapidly lightening ghostly pallor, the signs that the Hoover I mean Pakistani leadership would not be genuinely affected with her at the helm became all too apparent.
We watched as the beautiful daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, whose highest previous post had been as President of the genteel Oxford Debating society, battled to keep her reigns on power, making compromises to appease the military and the Islamists, failing to repeal the infamous Hudood laws which allow a woman to be jailed for rape and letting her husband loot millions in government funds.
The wishful thinking which assumes that female leaders are somehow gentler, nicer, more reform and altruistic minded is not only misguided but positively dangerous.
The fact that women are not immune from the compromises, power games and maneuverings of politics is not a new discovery but it certainly is a cautionary tale for those of us who see some kind of holy-grail solution in the election of female Presidents and Prime-Ministers as the cure-all for the social and economic disparity women face.
Whilst politics may be a dirty business, it is necessary. We may sigh as our Oxford stars disappoint us but this should not preclude us supporting women from seeking and wielding power. It should however inoculate us against an uncritical and idealistic fervour with which we support female candidates.
As we eagerly await the outcome of this Pakistani love triangle, waiting for the lies and betrayals, holding our breath as somebody emerges broken-hearted and possibly shot, the Pakistani people, emerge again losers as the familiar vultures convulse the nation with their sickly greed.