Posted by: Shaun | March 24, 2008

Musharraf: “This ‘democracy’ thing is okay by me…”

It is a testament to the position of political impotence in which Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf has been placed that he is now forced to heap praise on the very government he did so much prevent from coming to power.  AP reports on his National Day remarks about the newly elected parliamentary majority:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — President Pervez Musharraf on Sunday hailed the start of a “new era of real democracy” in Pakistan and pledged his support to the country’s incoming government, sure to be packed by foes determined to diminish the power of the embattled U.S.-backed leader […]

“The journey toward democracy and development we started eight years ago is now reaching its destination,” said Musharraf, a former army strongman who seized power in a 1999 coup. “A new era of real democracy has begun.” […] (emphasis added)

“I hope the new government can maintain peace and the fast pace of socio-economic development in Pakistan,” Musharraf said. “And I hope it will also continue our struggle against the curse of terrorism and extremism with the same force.”

“Real democracy?”  The kind he so adamantly opposed for those “eight years” the country has now traversed?  Musharraf pulled out all the stops to keep from losing his place as “General President” and the attendet power that came with it.  Having a rubber stamp parliament elected through rigged voting helped , too, and that was also defended fiercely.  The sacking of the supreme court, martial law, delayed elections, house arrest for opposition leaders…it seemed as if just about every affront to democracy and the rule of law imaginable was trotted out to preserve Musharraf’s hegemony in Pakistani politics.  Now that all that has failed, he’s forced to use the one tactic he has been so loath to turn to: accepting the decision of Pakistani voters.

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Responses

  1. I hope this is as it is. However what is worrying for a lot of Pakistanis is the prospect of a behind the scene deal between Musharraf and the new ‘democratic’ government to ensure his continued stay in the president’s office.

    The people spearheading the new government (Zardari and Nawaz Sharif) are believed by many to be corrupt and incompetent. They have plundered the country before and there is no reason to believe why they will not do this again.

    You can find out more information about Pakistan at my blog:
    http://cheshmgir.wordpress.com/

  2. Thank you for the link; you’ve published some very incisive commentary on Pakistan in your blog. The concern of a back room deal between Musharraf and the new government is an interesting one. My reading of the events was that the PPP and PML (N) had enough of a collective mandate to avoid such a step, but then this was based on observation at distance through the U.S. press. I’m also generally familiar with the reputation of Sharif and Bhutto governments in the 1990s. Is there a basis for these new concerns other than that background?


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