Musharraf isolated, loosing US support: South Asia expert

November 18th, 2007 - 4:15 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov 18 (ANI): President Pervez Musharraf is now “undoubtedly isolated and under the tremendous pressure of his period of military rule” with even the US beginning to turn on him, a South Asia expert has said.
Professor Shaun Gregony of the University of Bradford, writing for Open Democracy, an online portal, believes that the next few weeks are likely to decide Musharraf’s fate.
“Musharraf has been vociferous over the past few weeks repeating the arguments Pakistans dictators have always made: that the survival of Pakistan comes before democracy, that military rulers are democrats, and that the world should not expect levels of democracy in Pakistan which are enjoyed in the west,” Gregony writes.
He says that the “ARD could become the vehicle for the unification of political opposition once more - to encourage this Benazir Bhutto took the step of publicly reaching out to Sharif.”
However, Gregony adds, that the political opposition is hampered by the prospect of having to organise while their leaderships are detained or exiled and their supporters unable to take to the streets.
He argues that if the likely deal between Bhutto and Sharif comes apart as the “spoils heave into view,” Musharraf will ease the present restrictions as election approach.
Musharraf will then have made the transition to a civilian presidency, retained strong supporters in control of the army, divided and weakened his political opponents through their depressed electoral showing and secured the continued backing of the US administration, Gregony says.
According to Gregony, the worry for Musharraf is that the Bush Administration will continue to back him only as long as it believes that he can help them.
The prospect of a deal between Bhutto and the military would be within reach and a new presidency and the recalibration of political powers would offer a genuinely positive step in the direction of democracy, the Daily Times quoted him, as saying.
The next few weeks are likely to decide if Musharraf can satisfy the Bush Administration. “If Washington decides to pull the plug on Musharraf his demise will be swift,” he adds. (ANI)

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