Pervez Musharraf stepped down as Pakistan's president today. He was facing impeachment charges. Musharraf has had a funny (odd funny, not ha-ha funny) relationship with the United States in his nine years at the country's helm.
After September 11, Musharraf was one of the most vocal and proactive supporters of our efforts to bring the evil-doers to justice. But part of the reason he's been an effective ally is because he decided he gets to lead Pakistan's military and government, gets to redraw the constitution, and can alter the lineup of the supreme court by fiat. He had expansive powers.
It's unclear who will fill the role of president. Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir Bhuto's widower, is one option. It's also unclear what the role of president will be. Will the new president retain the powers to dissolve the parliament and choose the army chief? Pakistan's in for some tough negotiations.
We just hope there's some fairness in the process of picking a new leader and that whatever government emerges is stable. Pakistan's a nuclear power, after all.