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Analysis: Musharraf Wins Round One

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    Analysis: Musharraf Wins Round One

    More difficulties are ahead. Be prepared Mushy!

    Many Pakistanis see Musharraf as a sincere man
    As General Pervez Musharraf heads towards a landslide victory in the controversial referendum, his supporters would feel he is completing a transition from military dictator to political statesman.

    However, allegations of rigging are likely to affect the impact of his victory on the minds of many people at home and abroad.

    When he grabbed power in a coup in 1999, it was a sombre General Musharraf who appeared before the public, clad in his military uniform.

    But his referendum campaign posters showed him smiling, his army uniform traded for traditional Pakistan attire.

    By juggling the two images, the powerful general is trying to combine his twin positions of political reformist and army chief.

    With his officially massive victory in the referendum, the general will be able to continue with his reformist policies, backed by his many supporters in the country.

    But he cannot afford to ignore the opposition.


    Although many small parties supported General Musharraf, the leaders of an alliance of political parties accused his government of rigging the vote.

    The Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) said the turnout was low and called for the president's resignation.

    For his part, President Musharraf has asked opposition politicians to retire from politics.

    But the ARD consists of the country's two biggest parties, Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party and Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League.

    President Musharraf cannot be dismissive of them, with elections scheduled for October.

    "He will become very strong. He will get power through his army uniform and now being elected as president he would want to dictate his terms to the parliament after the October polls," says political analyst Najam Sethi.

    Consolidating power

    General Musharraf has constituted a National Security Council as the supreme decision making authority and adjudicator.

    He has secured the presidency and has also held local elections, and personally administered oath to the elected officials under which they are barred from supporting the policies of the party that nominated them.

    The constitution is suspended and he has announced that he will make changes to it if required.

    Analysts question where an eventual elected government would fit in this scheme.

    "It will never be a balanced system. There will be a tug of war between pro-Musharraf parties and parliamentarians," says Mr Sethi.

    "He is going to try to give the army a permanent role in national politics," adds another political analyst, Mehdi Hassan.

    Zia vs Musharraf

    Pakistan's all powerful army has ruled the country for more than half of its 55 years of existence.

    In 1977, former military ruler General Zia-ul Haq removed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's government, held a presidential referendum in 1984 and held onto power till his death in a plane crash in 1988.

    But unlike General Zia, Pervez Musharraf is seen by many disillusioned Pakistanis as a sincere leader, who saved the country from perceived US wrath in the aftermath of September 11 by turning against the Taleban regime.

    The international community has also openly embraced the military general, who was once a pariah.

    "Unlike Zia, he did not need legitimacy, he has already got the legitimacy after September 11," says Mr Hassan.

    A people's mandate will only make the Western world more comfortable with the general.

    Battling extremism

    One of the pivots of his support domestically and abroad has been his efforts in curbing religious extremism in Pakistan.

    But he has already been challenged on this front by a backlash, with the recent attack on a church, sectarian killings and bomb blasts.

    The religious parties oppose his pro-America stance, describing him as "an enemy of Islam".

    The presence of US forces within Pakistan working to put down armed militant groups has angered them more.

    Long Live Pakistan

    [This message has been edited by Pakistani Tiger (edited May 04, 2002).]

    People lose round one! Let us wait and see the whole show! This is interesting!!


      Originally posted by kumarakn:
      People lose round one! Let us wait and see the whole show! This is interesting!!

      Play Your Game - Guess My Motto


        Originally posted by kumarakn:
        People lose round one! Let us wait and see the whole show! This is interesting!!
        It seems that each subsequent post of yours makes a tad bit less sense that ur previous one.

        The progress that Pakistan has experienced internally in the past 2 years, proportionally, has been more than any other 2 year period we have ever been through. That has been combined with a massive accoutability drive. Taxation has been reformed. A system of checks and balances has been put into place.
        Yes, there are plenty of holes still to be filled, but 10 years worth of mess cannot be cleared in 2 years. I for one had high hopes for this government when it took over, and so far they have either met, or exceeded all my expectations.

        The following groups are the only ones who can be found complaining about everything related to Pres. Musharraf and the current government.
        1. Politicians, who cannot practice their corruption as they did before.
        2. Religious extremists, who seem to associate everything with Islam, and try to win favor with the public by citing Islam at every corner.
        3. Indians indians indians, because their massive deployment on the border hasnt done squat for them, and because Musharraf hasnt taken their crap.


          Originally posted by Akif:
          It seems that each subsequent post of yours makes a tad bit less sense that ur previous one.

          Exactly what happens when you compete with yourself


            Well said Akif


              it seems Mush 'chamcas' continue to ignore what is actually going on, on the ground in Pak.

              Despite every economic and social indictaor (expect forex which was not achievment of Mush policy as already known) going backward
              they still think Mush is doing a good job.

              With Mush in charge for the same time period as they used to judge BB and NS they say 'it is not enough time to judge him'!

              Keep your head in the sand, just remember to come up for a breath every now and then!!!