Friday, October 26, 2007

Habib-uz-Zaman Khan's comment on Gen. Musharraf’s Cynical Win

I received a note from a friend whom I correspond with that is worth putting up here. He refers to The New York Times's October 9 editorial on the Musharraf elections in Pakistan, which called his win "cynical". Here is his comment, followed by a few select statements in the article [click on the title for the whole article]:

"I am glad to see the New York Times take a stand against Musharraf's attempts to cling to power despite his unpopularity. Even though the NYT is probably motivated more by the mistreatment of one of its reporters earlier this year than by any real concern for Pakistanis in general, it is still heartening to see at least one major U.S. newspaper take him to task for his anti-democratic actions." [Habib-uz-Zaman Khan]

[The New York Times editorial]

Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s “election” last weekend as Pakistan’s president was a perversion of democracy.

The vote was not really a vote since, knowing how badly the deck was stacked, the opposition parties refused to participate. The results must now be certified by the Supreme Court, which must decide whether General Musharraf was even eligible to run while still in uniform. We hope the court will rule fairly and independently — and that General 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.

. . .. Time and again [Musharraf] 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.

He has … 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. . . .

Almost all of the time, President Bush has acquiesced in General Musharraf’s many misdeeds — and provided billions in American aid — as payment for the general’s service in the war on terrorism. There, too, the general has delivered a lot less than promised . . . . .

General Musharraf’s back-room deal with Benazir Bhutto . . . was his latest attempt to buy time and stay in office. . . . Rather than encourage such cynical deal-making, Mr. Bush should have encouraged a more-inclusive election process true to his democratic principles and true to what so many Pakistanis — professionals, ordinary people, even some in the military — want. . . . Washington has to make clear that its days of buying time for General Musharraf are over. . . . .

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