Monday, March 19, 2007

Fwd: [pakeditor] Musharraf gropes for way out of Pakistan's crisis - Reuters

Once again Pakistan faces political turmoil. Such instability moments is what prospective foreign investors worry about. This is one of the main reason's Pakistan tends to loose out on it's fair share of investments.

Where as India, Pakistan's neighbor which received independents from the British at the same time as Pakistan is living the high life with massive foreign investment and attention. This is primarily due to the fact that India has had a relatively stable democracy since it's inception in 1947.

If it weren't for constant political upheavals, Pakistan would most certainly be one of the recipients of similar foreign investments as in India. In fact the cost of doing business in Pakistan is far less than it is in India. Not to mention the the large talent pool Pakistan has to offer the world.

When Musharraf came to power in 1999 many us were relieved, we thought finally someone with sense. Finally we have someone who is for the nation and of the nation. Someone who is here to serious bring about a lasting and sustainable change. However, that apparently wasn't to be.

So what is next in store for Pakistan? A country that has gone through so much, from the US-Soviet Afghan war fall out to the US-Taliban Afghan war. Pakistan has suffered on both occasions been recipient to the front line blows of these two wars. However, life within the country goes on, generations pass and life goes on.

-AR

"S. Asif Alam" <asifalam@yahoo.com> wrote:
To: pakeditor@yahoogroups.com
From: "S. Asif Alam" <asifalam@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 12:07:45 -0000
Subject: [pakeditor] Musharraf gropes for way out of Pakistan's crisis - Reuters

March 19, 2007 - 5:41 AM

Musharraf gropes for way out of Pakistan's crisis

By Simon Cameron-Moore

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - President Pervez Musharraf, scotching rumours of
a coup six months ago, told Pakistanis their country was not a "banana
republic, where such things happen suddenly".

Filled with trepidation over a deepening political crisis, people
could do with a similar reassurance now, but this time Musharraf's
crisis is real and appears self-induced.

A ham-fisted attempt to sack Pakistan's top judge, and the use of
excessive force to cow the media and counter protests has created the
greatest challenge to Musharraf's authority over the Muslim country
since he seized power in a coup 7 ½ years ago.

Things got so bad over the weekend that Musharraf said there was a
conspiracy to turn people against him, and the United States, worried
by instability in an allied country next door to Afghanistan and Iran,
called for cool heads to prevail.

By Sunday, Islamabad's rumour mill went into overdrive with talk that
the constitution had been suspended, the National and provincial
assemblies dissolved and martial law declared.

It was just rumour, but analysts say it could yet happen.

"Musharraf is capable of declaring martial law, and he's capable of
making a political retreat and calling it a victory," said Najam
Sethi, editor of the Daily Times newspaper.

Having been run by generals for more than half the 60 years since
their country was carved out of India as a homeland for South Asia's
Muslims, Pakistanis are used to seeing leaders resort to desperate
measures.

VAGUE ALLEGATIONS

The latest crisis began on March 9 with the suspension of Chief
Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary on vague allegations of misconduct, setting
off protests by lawyers and opposition politicians.

Analysts suspect the motive for axing Chaudhary was fear that he would
block any attempt by Musharraf to hold onto his role as army chief,
which he is obliged to relinquish this year.

Television images of police thrashing lawyers in Lahore, and
ransacking the offices of a news channel during a demonstration in
Islamabad on Friday, stoked public outrage with Musharraf.

"Who is hatching this conspiracy, so that everything is put on me?"
the beleaguered president complained the next day.

Musharraf would lose what public trust he still commands if he put the
army on the streets, analysts said.

A better option would be to buy time and patch up with self-exiled
former premier Benazir Bhutto, they say.

Whatever General Musharraf does his position is critically weakened in
a year when he is due to seek re-election.

"It is a complete no-win situation for him," said Sethi.

"The options for him are very clear -- more democracy or greater
repression."

BHUTTO ALLIANCE?

More democracy means relinquishing his role as army chief, and
possibly forging alliances with progressive politicians, such as the
self-exiled, two-time prime minister Bhutto.

Greater repression means ducking a commitment to hold free and fair
national and provincial assembly elections due this year or early
next. A senior official told journalists in an off-the-record briefing
on Sunday the elections would take place.

Like Musharraf, Bhutto sees religious extremism as the greatest threat
to Pakistan, but she will be in no hurry to ally herself with a
president accused of flouting the constitution and belittling the
office of chief justice.

"Musharraf is becoming a lame duck as far as the political process is
concerned," said Ahmed Rashid, an internationally respected Pakistani
journalist.

"The system is paralysed with him there."

A sense of foreboding stems from a belief that Musharraf is being
ill-advised by non-elected hard-liners, including army officers, with
scant regard for the country's institutions.

Even if the Supreme Judicial Council hearing accusations against
Chaudhary were to recommend his reinstatement, it is hard to see how
Musharraf could work with a chief justice who has been lionised for
defying him.

Civilian politicians in the ruling coalition have distanced themselves
from the controversy, and any judge who supports Chaudhary's removal
now risks being regarded as a stooge.

Strain within Pakistan's hybrid military-civilian establishment is
showing, as anger turns inwards over the handling of the crisis.

"Some heads may roll," the senior official said.

(Additional reporting by Robert Birsel)

Reuters (IDS)

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1 comment:

Mani Devaj said...

THE SUPREME COURT OPPORTUNITY

Musharaff's attempt at sacking the Chief Justice provides him with an opportunity to do something that will have a far greater impact on the Pakistan of today then any previous act by any other Pakistani leader since the creation of Pakistan.

Pakistan's judicial system reflects the corruption that pervades Pakistani society. Its court's have through the decades justified unconstitutional usurpation of power through the doctrine of necessity, taken oaths mandated by military rules and even broken bread with rulers while cases concerning them are under submission.

There is also the general problem of a corrupt and inept judiciary and delays in the processing of cases and rampant bribes that determine the outcome (or lack of outcome) of a case. Even in cases where there are no bribes the lawyer-judge contact leads to unjust results.

So what is Musharraf's opportunity? Musharraf can use this crisis to revolutionize the judicial system to make it a mechanism of dispensing justice rather than another tool of a corruption. After all, isn’t this the raison d’etre for their existence?

In order for Musharraf or anyone to do so, the lawyers need to show the courage and strength required to create a structure that results in Pakistan having an independent, honest and able judiciary.

The present crisis is becoming yet another tool for hackneyed and corrupt politicians to reclaim the throne of Pakistan. Their cry for democracy translates into Musharraf as President implies dictatorship and us as Prime Minister signifies democracy. Democracy is not measured by who rules Pakistan but by the freedoms people have in the country and how these freedoms are protected and preserved.

It is important that those protesting the current mockery of the Supreme Court not let their struggle for judicial independence be hijacked by the usual suspects who will turn this into a march to grab back their lost power. These lawyers and protestors can leave a legacy for Pakistan if they and Musharraf construct a mighty structure of Justice in Pakistan that neither bends to the whim of the monarchs nor to the greed of the masses.

The backs of mortal men are too weak to support the nation of Pakistan. It requires this structure to grow, nay perhaps just to survive.