CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

February 20, 2008

Counsel uncalled for -US MUST RECOGNIZE ITS ALLY ROUTED

Filed under: POST-ELECTIONS 2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 11:25 pm
Tags: , , ,

THE NATION

FEBRUARY 21, 2008

EDITORIAL

NOW that the Pakistani voter has given his choice of the new leadership that would run the affairs of the state, it ill befits the US or, for that matter, any other foreign power to come forward with advice about how Pakistan should be setting its house in order. It is an unfortunate reality, though, that Pakistan’s own subservient behaviour over the years, especially since 9/11, even owning to US air strikes within its territory, has led Washington to take liberties with its sovereign rights and interfere in its affairs. Almost everyone – official circles, parliamentarians, the media, think tanks, political analysts – seems to have a word of wise counsel to offer to Islamabad about how it should manage its affairs. But that precisely causes a backlash among the people, annoys them greatly and reinforces their antipathy towards the US, the more so because they perceive that invariably the advice reflects concerns about its strategic interests, even though it might go against their wishes.
Pakistanis are viewing the State Department Deputy Spokesman’s hope that “whoever becomes Prime Minister…would be able to work with him (President Musharraf)” in that light. The wording strikes them as pretty odd in the sense that it appears to oblige the future Prime Minister to adjust with him to keep things working smoothly, while, in actual fact, he is the people’s choice and the February 18 ballot is a verdict against the President. At best, friends of Pakistan should be hoping that they both work in unison with each other. But, at the same time, one could not possibly ignore the stand of political parties that have bagged a majority of seats on the question of the President’s future. Both PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N leader Mian Nawaz Sharif are explicitly against his remaining in the saddle and have reminded him of his word that he would resign in case the people did not favour his continuation in office. Mr Zardari told the BBC on Tuesday that if the President did not quit on his own, the PPP would take the case before the National Assembly. Mian Nawaz, who is a vociferous advocate of the reinstatement of deposed judges, would like them to pronounce on the issue once they had been restored to their previous positions honourably. There are also calls for the President’s impeachment.
However, the President’s spokesman has ruled out the possibility of his stepping down, maintaining that he would be ready to work with the future political set-up. Under the circumstances when he is not willing to bow before the public sentiment as reflected in the ballot, the most suitable course would be for the Parliament to decide. Outsiders, if they were interested in democratic values to take root here, should let Pakistanis sort out the issue.

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