Rehabilitated Bhutto can help to solve Kashmir, Aghanistan border issues

November 14th, 2007 - 1:52 am ICT by admin  
With the courts ensuring some clarity to the crisis, the word going out now is that Benazir possesses the ability to provide a stable democracy and could help in solving border disputes with India and Afghanistan in the long-term.

This weekend was to have marked President Musharraf’s re-election - seen widely as a formality, given the majority his supporters command in the national Parliament and provincial assemblies. His opponents have long denounced the vote as a charade, because he has insisted he remain head of the army through the election, and because he would not submit himself to the verdict of the new assemblies that will be elected next year, and which may be less under his thumb than the current ones.

The court’s decision - to withhold judgement on the legitimacy of the legal challenges against Musharraf to just over a week from now - has been claimed as a victory by both sides. It avoided a direct confrontation with Musharraf, by ordering the election process halted. But it breathes new life into the opposition, disheartened by the last ruling in Musharraf’s favour.

Most of all, of course, it kicks confrontation another two weeks down the road. This repeated delay - and paralysis while waiting for the next deadline - is becoming the rhythm of the current crisis.

It began six months ago, when Musharraf tried to sack Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, but was inevitable at some point, given his attempt to secure another five-year term. The welcome surprise, for those who want democracy in Pakistan has been the strength of the courts in defending the Constitution.

The move appeared to revive the prospects of an imminent power-sharing deal between General Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto

According to The Times, the immediate winner from the current uncertainty is Bhutto. Britain and the US have backed the emerging Musharraf-Bhutto alliance as the best option going for Pakistan.

It is being believed that both Musharraf and Bhutto might be able to deliver a Kashmir dispute deal acceptable to all concerned parties. Musharraf, although the architect of one of the most inflammatory military incursions over the border, has gone a long way to take the heat out of the issue since he has become President.

Pakistan also needs urgently to agree a formal border with Afghanistan. Musharraf’s efforts to bring the tribal lands under control, at the cost of about 1,000 army casualties, are an essential step forward.

The paper says that any leader of Pakistan needs to take these steps to ensure a complete return to democracy. (ANI)

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