Restoration of democracy is the only way out for Musharraf: Pak daily

November 14th, 2007 - 10:14 am ICT by admin  
Categorically rejecting the imposition of a state of emergency, the paper said in its editorial today that the government must move to find a political solution to this crisis so that the PCO and emergency can be removed as quickly as possible.

“General Musharraf has to take off his uniform as he pledged to do countless times and immediately announce the date for elections no later than 90 days from November 15. In the interim, he must install a genuinely neutral caretaker administration and allow all political parties and all the leaders inside and outside Pakistan to participate in political activity,” said the daily.

“In one sentence, General Musharraf must fully restore Pakistan’s image as a democratic and peace-loving country that has taken a big hit because of his proclamation on November 3 and the subsequent actions taken by state functionaries under his orders,” added the editorial.

It went on to say that any further steps down the present path would only make it more difficult to extricate himself from the crisis.

Pointing out that Musharraf has never tired of proclaiming that he has the best interest of this country at heart, the paper said the irony of what he has done to promote this agenda, about whose propriety and desirability there can be no doubt, should not be lost on anyone.

“What are the essential parameters of a modern, progressive state? Answer: Constitutional democracy. What is Constitutional democracy if not the sanctity of a codified legal-normative framework accepted by and acceptable to all political players as well as members of civil society, the ultimate overhang under which the political, social and economic life of a country unfolds. And how does violating that framework help move a country towards constitutional democracy and its attendant benefits? And how can General Musharraf claim to move Pakistan in that direction by his November 3 action?” asks the paper.

It further questioned Musharraf’s assurance to fight terrorism, saying how can such a threat be countered by diminishing the national consensus against it and alienating the moderate and liberal forces which want to be in its vanguard?

“General Musharraf is a military officer and should know that timing in politics, as in war, is of the essence. It is also common sense that when in a hole, it is not the best strategy to dig oneself out of it. We are on record as having constantly advised him to reach out to the political actors he has pushed to the periphery, start a process of dialogue, start a transition to pull himself back from centre-stage and allow genuine political activity in the country.

“But General Musharraf’s dilemma was, and remains, that he wants the institutions to become strong, but simultaneously desires to remain above and beyond their reach. That is not possible and his ill-advised decision shows that either he cannot appreciate this truism or he is getting bad advice from vested interests that are bent upon decimating dissent in order to run this country like an army unit,” added the editorial.

Underlining that the problem is, “coercion carries in it the germs of its own destruction,” it said this is one of the most obvious lessons of history and there is no way that General Musharraf can avoid the consequence of his actions “where others, far more powerful than him, have failed.”

“This happens for two simple reasons: one, a system based on coercion can never legitimise itself; two, in the longer run, it is never sustainable. This is why pot-bellied, slow-moving, often frustrating democracies fare much better.”

The daily said that in his desire to move fast and unfettered, Musharraf has alienated himself from everyone in the country and outside. “That is hardly the best way to go about running a country that, by his own admission, is on the brink of falling from the heights to which he had taken it.”

It warns that General Musharraf has also mounted a coup against himself and the system he put in place over a long period of time, and for which the courts had given him a virtual carte blanche.

“When that happens in a democracy, the government is voted out. In this case, however, General Musharraf has indicted the people of Pakistan and all other institutions for a failure that squarely belongs to him. Not only that, he has decided by some bizarre logic that the only way to get the bad penny back is to throw a good one after it. That never works and he can’t make an exception,” concluded the editorial. (ANI)

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