Pakistan election – what next for Musharraf?

February 19, 2008

President Musharraf votes/Reuters TVPresident Pervez Musharraf could hardly have found a better way of convincing the world about his commitment to holding a “free and fair” election in Pakistan – by letting his own allies in the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) be defeated at the polls.

Commentators are already trying to work out whether the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)  of the late Benazir Bhutto and the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif  – ousted by Musharraf in a 1999 coup — can muster enough seats between them in parliament for the two-thirds majority needed to impeach him.

Yet if the early results, which indicate a strong showing for the opposition and a trouncing of Musharraf’s allies, are confirmed, I am left with an unanswered question. Is the election the beginning of the end for the retired army general? Or was it on his part an act of daring born out of his days as an army commando?

Did he gamble that even if his own supporters lost, he would still gain by proving his commitment to a free election to the international community? And in that gamble, was there an assumption that the opposition parties would squabble too much amongst themselves to form an effective coalition against him? It would be an interesting question to ask him.

In the coming days and weeks, it will become clearer whether that gamble was made. And if it paid off.

In my previous entry, and in the comments section, you can find links to some of the blogs and websites which are tracking the election results. If I have missed good sites, let me know. Or have your say here, by posting a comment.

17 comments

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What next for Musharraf? simply he should honor the result and leave the post of his presidentship as the people of Pakistan rejected his party.

Posted by suhail kureishi | Report as abusive

So much for all the doomsters’ shouting about the elections being rigged. The turnout wasn’t impressive, of course, at 40 per cent, but then the turnout in Britain’s last election was a miserable 60. But rigged they were not.

And it’s intriguing that in ‘Parade’ magazine in the US (OK, so Parade is hardly The Economist; more like Comic Cuts) Musharraf is ranked as the world’s 8th most detestable dictator. Yes, sure: a dictator who holds elections in which his party is defeated. A strange definition of the word.

And talking of words, are any of the pundits going to eat their words about the elections?
Fat chance.

Posted by beecee | Report as abusive

I would think this will increase presure on the USA on the region,but could this mean that the USA would no longer view ” invasion of IRAN”.
And what If, The ” Nuclear capabilities ” are used as a barganing tool by thye ” Islamic League” this is getting more and more interesting, almost like a ” good Mistery thriller” or is it?

Posted by Eagle Averro | Report as abusive

Well the election is over thankfully without suicide bombings and similiar violence though there was election related fatalities. What now? Unlike your statement where you believe Musharraf gambled, I think he has achieved a few things in the long term. First nobody will say the election was rigged and therefore he earns kudos from the international community. Second, with the ground realities in Pakistan, he has maybe done his supporters a favour where the incoming government is sure to face hardships in cleaning the mess left behind. If and when the new government fails, he will conduct another election and bring all his cronies back who would have had a well deserved rest after 5 years of government and having refreshed themselves in the opposition back benches or elsewhere. Third, the practical reality and the previous year along with the poll results will in all probability have the PPP and PML (N) creating a coalition government which after the honey moon period is bound to have differences cropping up as they are ultimately two different parties having different ideologies thus paving for the return of the Musharraf allies.

Spare a thought for Imran Khan who has probably lost on the gamble he made. He is 55 plus now and chances of coming into this assembly through a bye election is indeed remote. Who knows where he will be in 5 years time when the next elections take place unlike jamaat’s Qazi Husain Ahmed who is head of a party that has street power and organizational abilities that were probably a contributing factor to the MMA successes in 2002 as much as their absence has contributed to their 2008 fiasco . He will feel left out as he is now an EX-Parliamentarian, an EX-Cricketer and the EX-Husband of Jemima. In Pakistan a Triple X rated situation is at least publicly not acceptable.

Posted by Waseem Baig | Report as abusive

Please do not give too much credit to Musharraf for holding fair elections. The elections are to a large extent fair because he is a lame duck president and he is no longer chief of the the Army. The Army has moved itself dramitacally away from civilian affairs and Musharraf has no more authority to rig the elections with the help of military intelligence and ISI as he did last time in 2003.

Posted by Hasan M. Mirza | Report as abusive

DEAR PAKISTANI BROTHERS TRY TO UNDERSTAND MR.MUSHARAFF. HE IS A STRONG LEADER. AND THE COUNTRY NEEDS SUCH A UNCORRUPTED LEADER TO LEAD PAKISTAN.

Posted by BASHEER | Report as abusive

Musharraf is perhaps a tragic figure. But he allowed pragmatism — an alliance with the Bush regime — to supplant his obligation to his own country.

Now, whether he was justified in playing ball with Bush remains for history to decide. It will be the same historians who will decide whether Bush was justified in sacrificing 4000+ Americans and $1 trillion in a trade for an elderly (67 years old) Arabic despot.

I suspect that Bush, Musharraf, the late Shah of Iran, and Saddam Hussein, and Donny Rumsfeld will meet together. In Hell. They all had a hand in constructing this world wide calamity.

Mike

Mike

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

Maybe, just maybe, Musharraf is trying to find a way out of the dictator business that doesn’t involve a bullet, a noose, or an axe.

Mike,Musharraf is indeed a tragic figure,but not for the reason you state.He never allowed his pragmatism to outweigh his obligations to his country.Remember his protection of Dr Qadeer;or his refusal to allow US forces to operate on Pakistan territory.And he has continued with the perfection and development of Pakistan’s nuclear as well as missile technology.
He has other impressive achievements to his credit including avoidance of needless confrontation with the USA,improving the economy,elimination of sectarian strife,political empowerment of women and minorities etc.
But he has equally monuental failures to his credit.This includes his inability to keep his promise on much heralded mega projects like Gawadar and construction of dams to over come the shortage of water.The nationwide shortage of electricity,inflation,unemployment,and wheat .Not to mention hosting of inefficient and corrupt leadership which the people rejected in the recent elections.Even so most Pakistanis continued to give him passing grades in view of a percieved better handling by him of the difficult conditions the country found itself in.
His tragedy is that over the years his style of government,cost him his closest friends and best advisors – and as his ego grew his mishandling of the Baluchistan issue leading to the death of Nawab Bughti ;and then the total fiasco of the removal/reinstatement/re-firing of the Chief Justice along with the entire judiciary has left him isolated and friendless.
I hope he at some point see the advisability of restoring the judiciary- as I for one would hate to see him go.

Posted by Hassan Abbas | Report as abusive

FACTS ON THE GROUND IN PAKISTAN.Reference to the Islamic history and Pakistan’s independance period, I want to go a step further and will recomand to select/elect every Chief of Army staff as president after retirement and the present Army chief should be be given extra time for his oustanding services at national and international level and all other Corps. Commanders of the Army and COS of Airforce and Navy should be apponited Governors and Deputy Governors of the provinces and regions ( by creating regional governments in all four provinces, 2 in Punjab 1 in each province- these regions already exist based on language, culture and history , such as Saraiki, Potahari, Upper Sind-Sukkar, Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP and Gawadar- Balouch Area. And all additional bureaucrates who love to live in provincial capitals should be trasfered to these remote areas of the country. These new regions should invite and attrect the foreigner and Pakistani origin people to invest in the area to creat jobs and eliminate poverty.) This is the only way we can stop further intereption/ coup in Pakistan . After all armed forces personnel are wel diciplined and organized . And above all represent Pakistan’s divercified population. With this arrangement no one is loser except few feudals and industrialists, who reprent non of the masses in Pakistan. We already have a quota system applied for superior services since 30 years and had killed thousands of innocent talented young people, why not try this arrangement for the welfare of the country which will effect none but very few so called politicians who after all deal with generals behind the curtains.And it’s good to know that supporters of these politician are 500/600 Mafia heads who live in 125 districts in Pakistan and provide so called public leadership for national, provincial and local levels. All 9000 candidates in recent elections were from the same mafia group who are the biggest law breakers and around 1000 leading law breaker are elected as tne new law makers who will take care of them but none. They all involved in worst kind of crimes on this earth against humanity.WOULD THE EDITOR PUBLISH THIS LETTER in the larger interest of the nation. KHWAJA AFTAB SHAH , the first and only post graduate of Intellectual Property Laws on scholarship from USA. Residing in Orlando, Florida.U.S.A.

Pakistan, which is considered to be the most prominent ally to the post 911, so called war on terror, has been most haunted by the terrorist inside and outside.
President prevaiz musharaf who has considered himself to be indispensible has been so much blind from the past few months events that he has probably never dreamed of such reaction as shown by the people of Pakistan in the out come of election result. Probably it may be called as sympathy vote for Benazir or sacking of judiciary on 3rd November 2007, it seems that happy days for Musharaf have ended.

As government building process has been started and new coalitions are shaping up as a positive sign for the people of Pakistan, who are currently seeing a different series of events long missed during the previous election processes. Giving way to each other, extending invitations to competitors has never been witnessed before by the people of Pakistan, who now see it as a pleasant surprise. A newly celebrated leader, who plays like a player, with wit and charm, a new zardari, things seem to be all in order for him except at daunting task of selecting a prime minister among his colleagues. Makhdoom Amin, the most senior party executive with a very positive record and most respected of all, seems to be a bit out of shape or material for prime minister for few people, and the best among the lot for some. No matter how the events unfold it seems clear that as the positive events have been witnessed, it is a strong probability that the future events will turn positive.

No matter how positive the future may look, but nobody can deny the current density of problems going to be faced by the infant government. The most prominent issue of judiciary, which has been the prime concern of the PML-N the partner, has been the top priority of the new government. Although the selection of first lady speaker with majority vote in favor of the PPP, has given a new hope to the resolution of forthcoming issues, but still the problems like, food shortage, Electric power shortage, constitutional amendments, draining foreign investments, are seem to be likely candidates for expected difficult resolutions.

The media, which seems to be now the most liked attraction for newly elected candidates, may haunt them for their steps of failure. It has been observed that the newly evolved Pakistani media is the hardest nut to crack for the government, especially in the events of crisis. The introduction of members of opposition parties as guests in the programs with open discussions, live commentary, during emergency events and live coverage of events have been the source of embarrassment for previous government. Now the new government has yet to taste the flavor of bitter criticism of the maturing public opinion. Life has been tough for the current President as he seems himself being sidelined waiting to see how the coalition will react to him, as he might also know the inevitable of his demise.

For U.S this has been a new experience as it seems like the president musharaf was the only choice, now seems clear that the Pakistan seems better off even without musharaf as the new majority is of secular moderates, which are more likely to be acceptable to U.S than Musharaf, as support to Musharaf as a dictator has been criticized by even the majority of U.S think tanks.

Posted by Muhammad Ali | Report as abusive

Mush is going to be kicked out of Pakistan INSHALLAH

Posted by Ammar | Report as abusive

FACTS ON THE GROUND IN PAKISTAN.Reference to the Islamic history and Pakistan’s independance period, I want to go a step further and will recomend to select/elect every Chief of Army staff as president after retirement and the present Army chief should be be given extra time for his oustanding services at national and international level and all other Corps. Commanders of the Army and COS of Airforce and Navy should be apponited Governors and Deputy Governors of the provinces and regions ( by creating regional governments in all four provinces, 2 in Punjab 1 in each province- these regions already exist based on language, culture and history , such as Saraiki, Potahari, Upper Sind-Sukkar, Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP and Gawadar- Balouch Area. And all additional bureaucrates who love to live in provincial capitals should be trasfered to these remote areas of the country. These new regions should invite and attrect the foreigner and Pakistani origin people to invest in the area to creat jobs and eliminate poverty.) This is the only way we can stop further intereption/ coup in Pakistan . After all armed forces personnel are wel diciplined and organized . And above all represent Pakistan’s divercified population. With this arrangement no one is loser except few feudals and industrialists, who reprent non of the masses in Pakistan. We already have a quota system applied for superior services since 30 years and had killed thousands of innocent talented young people, why not try this arrangement for the welfare of the country which will effect none but very few so called politicians who after all deal with generals behind the curtains.And it’s good to know that supporters of these politician are 500/600 Mafia families who live in 125 districts in Pakistan and provide so called public leadership for national, provincial and local levels. All 8000/9000 candidates in recent elections were from the same mafia group who are the biggest law breakers and around 1000 leading law breaker are elected as the new law makers who will take care of them but none. They all involved in worst kind of crimes on this earth against humanity.An enquiry by a nuetral agency may prove my claim.WOULD THE EDITOR PUBLISH THIS LETTER in the larger interest of the nation. KHWAJA AFTAB ALI,(a former Secretary Iranian Embassy, Saudi Arabia,1975-88), first and only post graduate of Intellectual Property Laws on scholarship from USA. Residing in Orlando, Florida.U.S.A. email.piplaw@hotmail.com

Posted by KHWAJA AFTAB ALI, Advocate & I.P. Attorney | Report as abusive

Dear Sir/Madam,
Patriotic way, to prevail “Democracy in Pakistan”…?

Democracy as a system of governance and interest representation demands respect for dissent and opposition. It recognizes the principle of majority rule and guarantees protection of minorities. Democracy also builds faith in electoral contestation to gain public office and gives legitimacy to political parties as primary instruments for acquisition and transfer of power from one set of individuals to another. Democracy teaches us equality, tolerance and justice without any discrimination to establish welfare society based on peace, progress and prosperity.

Therefore, it is essential to denounce the killing of innocent people in Pakistan, since it look excellent and compassionate but are we really feel sorry for that killing of innocent people ? if it is so, then we must eliminate the route cause of suicide killing and other hatred, being a democratic Islamic country and people, we must think in the light of teaching of our prophet (PBH) because killing for killing and bloodshed of innocent people, due to one pretext or other can never gives flowers in return, peace cannot prevail in this circumstances we must adopt democratic ways and means to settle the differences with who so ever they may be.

In reality, factual reason behind this hate is not born by us, but borrowed by us for the sake of US pleasure “Aa bel muje mar”. Because, those who were supported, financed, equip and trained by the USA and its allies, and who fight in the name of freedom of Afghanistan from occupied forces, were not aware about the truth behind their fighting, their fighting, was to protect the interest of USA, they were fighting a war of USA against USSR, for the political gain of USA (petrol resources around the Afghanistan and get easy excess for ,Iran, china) and when they realise their national interest was going to be robed, they dare to refuse, what kind of robbery was that is mentioned in the recently release book by the France authors.

“ French authors Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie recently published a book entitled Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth which tells of the negotiations for oil pipeline rights in Afghanistan that collapsed in August 2001 after the U.S. told the Taliban: Accept our offer of a carpet of gold or you’ll get a carpet of bombs.”

Despite the fact that, “Bush administration was expecting from Taliban, to cooperate with their plans for exploiting the oil resources of Central Asia. US were sure until August, that the Taliban, as a source of stability in Central Asia, would enable the construction of an oil pipeline across Central Asia.” But, all of a sudden a trusted partner of USA, turn in to so-called terrorist?

But fortunately, the Taliban realize that their national interest was going to be robed by USA; they dare to refuse, to accept US conditions for their support in exploitation of oil resources from central Asia.

As a last hope in the talks between the Bush, administration and the Taliban which began in February 2001, shortly after Bush’s inauguration. A Taliban emissary arrived in Washington in March with presents for the new chief executive, (an expensive Afghan carpet). But the talks themselves were less than cordial. Brisard said; “At one moment during the negotiations, the US representatives told the Taliban, ‘either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs’.”
USA and its allies attack the Afghanistan under the immediate aftermath of September 11, there were press reports—against, largely overseas protest and hiding the factual reality behind the attack on Afghanistan, they almost destroyed remaining infrastructure and killed thousands of innocent people, such as they attack the Iraq under wrong pretext of having the WMD and against the will of the world to capture the oil resources and acquire a place for their continuous presence in the middle east for their political gain. The United National has lost its credibility as neutral authority to intervene and protect the small and week nation against foreign aggression but instead ,UNO, proved as failed organization playing in the hands of the brutal power intimidating and capturing the countries, in order to grab their, resources such as OIL and to attain political influence, while killing their innocent people under one pretext or other in the name to “demoralized” them and to accept the terms and condition suitable for the occupier.

At present they (US/NATO) are fighting their war of military/political interest in the region, involving the dependent country like Pakistan, under intimidation of sever consequences to bear, if refuse to support them; The current demand draft of 11 points, submitted by the so-called democratic imperialistic state of USA is a clear sign to a sovereign government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan to accept and obey as matter of master’s voice.

This act is a kind of intimidation and direct involvement in the internal matter of a sovereign state. This act create a question as if we are really a sovereign state or part and partial of USA,Because, they want Pakistan to fight and kill his own people under one ploy or another, want to drag them in to the chaos and uncertainty, so that they can further impose more condition on the Pakistani Government to follow them, dip and dip until armed forces of Pakistan loose the trust of the Pakistani people and come openly to fight against his own people like they did in east -Pakistan, this is the movement they (USA) are waiting for, so that their, in time financial help to the traitor can play the role to disintegrate the strength of the nuclear country.

This is a moment invite us all for serious consideration weather to keep our independence in tact or bow down before this mighty evil, democratically bullying to accept the terms and condition of his interest, or in other words be ready to loose our independence for ever.

How? a patriotic person can repeat, the past mistake for supporting the fight, for external political and regional gain instead, we have already paid to much price in the form of social unrest, ethnic conflicts, drug- addicting and arms problems through Pakistan, If, we have to survive as a Sovereign Islamic Nation, in this world with dignity and respect as a free nation, then we must adopt and adhere the following essential change immediately;

• Decentralize the power on the basis of division to empower the people at grass route level without any delay.
• Allow free, complete education with technical knowledge to every able citizen.
• Establish research institute at divisional level to encourage the youth with god gifted skill to develop and those who are interested in research work in all field, it is necessary step towards self sufficiency in technology.
• Provide guarantee for job opportunity to all man and women after education/technical training.
• Rapid industrialization of small, medium and cottage industries be allowed at the divisional level with total protection to capitals and facilities to flourish.
• A cooperative farming should be introduced at divisional level for large scale agriculture product and development of agro-industries.
• Supply of controlled price utilities could only be possible if we follow the mass industrial and agriculture production
• Provide separate working facilities for production and services to women, so that majority women force of 52% can join the force of national production/services.
• Insurance coverage should be provided all working man/women along with complete medical treatment coverage.
• Better residential facilities be provided to all
• Export oriented foreign policy should be adopted and find markets for our excess products in the regional country surrounding us, and provide them market place for their excess products.

The right way to reverence to Martyr is to eliminate the causes after the incidents. If we can redress the route cause after the suicide killing, we can save many lives in future. The only way out is the change of system, the route cause of all kind of grievances, the time is to empower the Pakistani at grass route level to eliminate the socio-political injustice and strengthen the unity within the society at large, and closing the door for outsiders or intruder to penetrate in our society because of social unrest.

Pakistani people are left at distant from the corridor of power. As this policy is denial of right of Pakistani igniting the unrest within the society, let the people of Pakistan, to rule their country according to their aspiration and desire to build, which can provide equal opportunity to all without any discrimination for the establishment of welfare society. Only the society base on tolerance, equality and justice can be the real guarantee for the prosperous and strong Pakistan

See http://www.idp.org.pk
Ilyas khan Baloch
Organizer Islamic democratic party

Should we call Pakistan, a nation of baggers as this is the only product we are producing for the last many years. Our recent factories to produce these unique product is by two richest political groups who are governing the federal government and Punjab government respectively. they start distributing money to help poor in the society. The huge money could have been used to create jobs and let these poor work and earn living for themselves. But as a nation we become baggers, what it makes different if you are sitting/ standing by the road in dirty cloths or visiting richest countries capitals in expansive outfits, you are basically BAGGING and bring your nation down in front of the one from whom you are bagging. Baggers always give reason and excuse for this worst kind of behavior for a dignified person or a nation. Could we as a nation are respectful enough to stop thinking of this bagging excuses as most of the time we as a nation go and beg from nations who earned hard their fortune and was not for granted. Pray for betterment in Pakisan. Khwaja Aftab Ali,Advocate & I.P. Attorney.( a former PRO, Iranian Embassy, Saudi Arabia).
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Patriotism of Pakistanis could be tested any where in the world by asking them to help their country in rainy days but what about super class of people (richest fuedals, industrialists, drug lords and above all the politicians who successfully run the highly profitable business of politics in the Pakistan. An estimated rate of profit in Pakistani politics is 1000 to million per cent, details can be calculated by politicians increasing wealth. Majority of Pakistanis living abroad are labor class and highly skilled professional. No body give them money for nothing. They have to work hard for it. Some of them are businessmen who also work very hard to earn their fortune. There is no favor or nepotism in open markets of the world. After all these hard work they should give money to the country because few people of super class have taken country wealth abroad. I have lived and worked in Middle East and visited Europe and now living in USA for last 10 years, I found average Pakistan more patriotic that upper class of the country. We are ready to come forward again and will help/ invest in the country but this upper class should be stopped to taking national wealth abroad and participate accordingly in saving and investing in the country. At present two richest group of politician in power, they should provide the biggest share instead of going for begging to the rich nations. The richest nations are not rich by begging but by hard work. The upper class should go and observe how hard Chinese are working, come to USA and observe how people work and live here.The government of Pakistan should imediatly issue foreign currency investment bond offering good rate of return still better than IMF and world Bank, We Pakistanis abroad will buy with our savings and is a great help. The bonds should be gaureneted by international authorities The editor of Pakistan Times is a talented lady who invite us to write these comments. Her services are highly appreciated by Pakistanis living abroad. Pray for the country where majority population is helpless in front of few exploiters of supper class of rich politicians and defense forces have no choice but to defend them in the system. All the best. KHWAJA AFTAB ALI, Advocate & I.P. Attorney

Five regional cities should be upgraded with in the provinces in Pakistan. Regional cities of Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP, Gawadar/ Qalat in Balouchistan, Sukkar/ Larkana in Upper Sind, Jehlam/ Rawalpindi and Multan in Punjab province. These regional cities have been ignored by the federal and provincial governments although these cities have their own history, culture and languages. The people of these regions have to travel to provincial capitals for every small issue and requirement of the daily life which should be provided in nearby cities. Creation of regional government and upgrading of the regional cities will save a lot of money and time of the poor people of these regions. Circuit courts of the High Courts are already working in these areas and only requirement is the additional staff of different departments involved in additional work at the provincial capitals. The concern authorities should immediately consider to upgrade the regional cities. And immediate attention should be given by upgrading the airports, hospitals, educational institutes and investment opportunities for Pakistanis living abroad and foreign firms to create jobs in the area.

- Posted by Khwaja Aftab Ali, Florida

he could go back to india his country of birth.i am sure mr manmohan singh will support him to live his retired life in his parents house!

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive

[...] to building schools in the remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. NPR Interview 18 February 2008 Pakistan election – what next for Musharraf? (Reuters blog) Did he gamble that even if his own supporters lost, he would still gain by proving [...]