Many Pakistanis see Musharraf as having stayed too long

January 14th, 2008 - 3:16 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
Washington, Jan 14 (ANI): Most Pakistanis who supported military takeover on the elected government in October 1999, have now become tired of President Pervez Musharraf, and feel that he has over-stayed his welcome, says John Ward Anderson, correspondent of The Washington Post reporting from Islamabad.

They feel that President Musharraf now has the till death do us part attitude, and 67 percent of feel that he should resign.

“When he took power, we felt that he’d take us down the right path and then go after two or three years, but now he’s been here eight years, and who can question him, who can tell him to go?” said Abdul Rauf, 40, the owner of a men’s shop in Islamabad’s upper-class Jinnah Shopping Market.

John Anderson says: Disenchantment with Musharraf’s hold on power has grown even within his own party, which is bitterly divided over how he engineered his reelection in the fall by a lame-duck parliament stacked with his supporters. At the time, he still led the army; after his win, he sacked a Supreme Court that threatened to invalidate it.

Pakistani political analyst Rifaat Hussain wrote in an e-mail: “Many of us had pinned hopes on Musharraf to reform the system and lead the way forward. Now, it is a measure of the bankruptcy of Musharraf’s eight-year-long rule in Pakistan that today PPP and PML have emerged as real contenders for power once again. Only he could have revived the political fortunes of these two political parties.

Today, analysts say Musharraf’s grip on power is increasingly tenuous following a series of political calamities, including his unpopular six-week declaration of emergency rule and the assassination of Bhutto.

With Bhutto’s allies blaming Musharraf for not adequately protecting her and botching the investigation into her death, it is unclear which political parties, if any, will join with him and his branch of the Pakistan Muslim League, the PML-Q, after elections scheduled for Feb. 18. That raises the possibility that a hostile parliament could try to unseat him.

To prevent such an outcome, many analysts say, Musharraf’s government might try to rig the balloting, even if it risks destabilizing street protests and a response from an army Musharraf no longer controls.

“He cannot afford free elections,” said retired army general and political analyst Talat Masood, a onetime Musharraf supporter.

In recent months, as the calls increased for Musharraf to step down, analysts said that his response became more authoritarian. For instance, he sacked the country’s chief justice Ifthikar Chaudhary and fired dozens of other independent judges, yanked independent TV channels off the air in the name of public security, arrested political opponents, stacked the election commission with supporters, and finally suspended the constitution and declared emergency rule.

So, as a conclusion, many Pakistanis see Musharraf as having stayed too long!

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