Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Musharraf Delivers Free, Fair, Peaceful Polls

People of Pakistan have spoken and handed a resounding defeat to the ruling coalition. The results of Pakistan Elections 2008 indicate that President Pervez Musharraf has delivered on his promise of free, fair and peaceful polls. Sen Tariq Azim and Mr. Shujaat Chaudhry of PML(Q) have both graciously accepted the outcome and indicated their readiness to sit in the Opposition. Musharraf has indicated he is ready to work with the winners. These are history making events for Pakistan.

Another important development is the lackluster performance of religious parties in sharp contrast to the 2002 election held in the aftermath of the US bombing in Afghanistan. There is clearly "Mullah Fatigue" in the NWFP which was until recently ruled by the MMA, the religious party alliance. This vote should set to rest any fears of pro-Taleban, Pro- Al-Qaeda religious extremists taking control of Pakistan.

The leaders of PPP and PML(N), the victorious parties, deserve to be congratulated. However, as they celebrate these wins, they must prepare for the serious challenges ahead. They must not be vengeful. They must show grace in accepting the responsibilities the nation has placed on them. They should reassure all Pakistanis, their supporters and those who voted against them, that they will work for the benefit of the entire nation. They must demonstrate they have learned from their past mistakes when each got a chance to run the country twice. They must not engage in corruption that marred their previous terms in office. They should not seek confrontation with Musharraf, the military and their opposition parties in Parliament. They must sincerely pursue building democratic institutions without derailing the economy that has experienced robust growth for the last five years.
I sincerely hope the PPP and the PML(N) will set aside their differences and not throw a third chance to help build Pakistan into a powerful, democratic and prosperous nation.


Anonymous said...

There is a sea of change sweeping the world. This is a reverse of the trend that swept the world when religious parties dominated: Christian Fundamentalist helping Bush, Islamist gaining power in Pakistan, Hindu BJP dominating India and Jewish right wingers controlling Israel.
The religious parties, while still a factor, no longer dominate.
In Pakistan, the election in spite of, and not because of Musharraf (lest we forget the pre-election maneuvering by which BB was in and Sharifs were out), were mostly fair. There are several reports of voters not being on the list and there appear to be several "landslide" type victories which may not be the result of free polls, but all in all this was a good election.
The polls reflect the soft voices of the people of Pakistan. While the loud screaming, demonstrations and protests of these people were loudly ignored, these "soft-speak" cannot be ignored.
It is now time for Musharraf to avoid confrontation and resign, the people of Pakistan do not care for him and he is a liability. He has had his time in the sun, he now needs to move on and he should do so expeditiously while the people of Pakistan are in a forgiving mood. They can celebrate his “fairness” and let him depart with dignity.

As for the opposition parties, the concern is not so much as to whether they can work with each other. The concern is that given their history of corruption whether they will sell out to Musharraf and seek to form a government with Musharraf's support.
To do so will be a betrayal of what the people of Pakistan and will undoubtedly lead to another round of chaos and pandemonium.

Riaz Haq said...

I share your concerns about the PML(N) and PPP leadership. But I think we should give credit where it's due: Musharraf could have manipulated the results with all the apparatus at his command. He didn't. That is not to forgive his past sins, just to acknowledge a good deed. My biggest worry now is prolonged uncertainty in the formation of new government and clarity on economic policy. This can potentially derail the economy which has been experiencing robust growth in the last few years.

Anonymous said...

Those who rip apart the constitution of Pakistan, put the Chief Justice of Pakistan under house arrest, torture lawyers, terminate the employment of hundreds of judges who now face financial crisis really don't deserve credit.
To do so would be to recognize a killer for sending a valentine card to his girl friend.
And let us not be so naive, if Musharraf could have rigged the election, he would have. He no longer is the Martial law administrator, the election was monitored by local Pakistanis and world monitors.
The credit goes to the people of Pakistan. The time now is to recognize Musharraf but to ask him to vacate the Presidency that he usurped by firing the Supreme Court.

Riaz Haq said...

I understand that you feel very strongly about Musharraf's recent assault on Pakistani judiciary. But, I am just glad to see that, so far, Pakistan is not likely to face the situation Kenyans have right after their recent elections. I think the entire Pakistani nation deserves kudos for demonstrating maturity in the political process. This is the way to go to avoid becoming another failed state along the lines of Afghanistan or Somalia.

Anonymous said...

The elections are definitely a significant achievement for us. A 60-year old nation that for the first time had an elected government complete its term.

You can say what you like about Musharraf, but given the circumstances, I doubt anyone could have done better than this. He's made mistakes, but he should be given credit for bringing us where we are.