Pakistan Election: Musharraf’s cynical election victory:
Star.com, Oct 10, 2007 04:30 AM:
Pervez Musharraf's "election" last weekend as
Pakistan's president was a perversion of democracy.
vote was not really a vote since, knowing how badly the
deck was stacked, the opposition parties refused to participate.
The results must be certified by the Supreme Court, which
must decide whether Musharraf was even
eligible to run while still in uniform. We hope the court
will rule fairly and independently – and that Musharraf's
enablers in Washington will make clear that he must respect
that decision and finally start moving his country toward
the rule of law.
Pakistan to civilian government has been a declared goal
of the United States since Musharraf
seized power in 1999. Time and again he has promised that
he would resign his post as chief of army staff and take
off the uniform, but even now he is playing cute about
when – and whether – that might happen.
has used his power vindictively and squandered his popular
support by forcing rivals into exile and by harassing
and intimidating journalists, judges and anyone who has
tried to stand up to him.
all of the time, President George Bush has acquiesced
in Musharraf's many misdeeds –
and provided billions in U.S. aid – as payment for
the general's service in the war on terrorism. Musharraf's
backroom deal with Benazir Bhutto –
encouraged by Washington – is his latest attempt
to stay in office. Under the deal, the flawed former prime
minister and leader of Pakistan's most popular party gets
to return home, escape prosecution on corruption charges
and – if all goes according to plan – stand
for another term. And Musharraf gets
to claim to the Pakistani people and Washington that he's
moving toward civilian rule.
than encourage such cynical deal-making, Bush should have
encouraged a more-inclusive election process true to his
democratic principles and true to what so many Pakistanis
Pakistan's Supreme Court rules that Musharraf
is ineligible to be president, he must step down and allow
what didn't happen this weekend – a real free vote.
If the court rules for him, then he must finally take
off his uniform. He must ensure that parliamentary elections
due early next year are free and fair, and he must finally
lead his country in a credible transition from military
to civilian democratic rule.
has to make clear that its days of buying time for Musharraf
9/20/2007 12:36 PM
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