Emergency a self-inflicted wound on Musharraf, says Mushahid Hussain

November 14th, 2007 - 8:28 am ICT by admin  
The Washington Post quotes Hussain as saying: “It’s a very serious self-inflicted wound, and, I feel it will be difficult to really recover from this wound.”

According to the paper, Hussain lobbied hard for Musharraf to avoid declaring an emergency, counselling that he could still allow elections to proceed and the courts to rule, leaving it to the voters and the judges to decide his fate.

But after a series of critical missteps this year that turned the courts and nearly the entire country against him, Musharraf decided last week that he had only one means of keeping his presidency alive: the extreme step of imposing de facto martial law, a risky choice that even his close advisers say could ultimately prove ruinous.

Loyalists say Musharraf took that step reluctantly after other options had been exhausted.

But the move also fits a pattern of behaviour for Musharraf, one in which the former commando has chosen to shoot his way out of tight situations, using force rather than finesse.

It’s worked before, but might not now. Intense domestic opposition is likely to spill out onto the streets, and international condemnation threatens to turn him into an outcast.

Musharraf’s decisions all year have been aimed at keeping a tight grip over his own destiny. It’s a strategy that has backfired, causing his popularity to plummet and his options to narrow.

Some advisers urged him to step down from his job as army chief as soon as possible and then seek a new term as president in a vote by assemblies to be elected by the public.

But Musharraf wanted a sure thing, aides say, and decided on the constitutionally dubious choice of staying in uniform for a vote by the present assemblies, which are packed with his supporters because of tainted elections in 2002.

The only obstacle in his path was the Supreme Court, with its independent-minded chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, and the latter has now been summarily dismissed. (ANI)

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