US should help Musharraf to keep moving in right direction: WSJ

November 14th, 2007 - 2:01 am ICT by admin  
“The last thing the US wants is to further destabilise a nuclear-armed government threatened by Muslim extremists. Musharraf is moving in the right direction and the US can help to keep him moving,” the paper said.

The recent trends are encouraging, but hurdles still remain on the road to democracy in Pakistan, opined the WSJ, in its editorial.

The paper said that after a series of wrong steps, which led to decline in Musharraf’s popularity, the General had two choices: Impose martial law or look for a democratic transition. Musharraf chose the latter course.

In the run-up to his election on October 6, Musharraf courted moderates even as the opposition threatened a boycott. He also corralled the religious vote and won despite abstention by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), said the WSJ.

According to the paper, “The next stage in the political transition rests with the Supreme Court, which has yet to rule on the constitutionality of the presidential election.”

The paper observed that the court in its ruling has said the election could go forward but postponed verdict on Musharraf’s eligibility for presidential office until after the vote.

The WSJ stressed: “If the judges invalidate his victory, the political upheaval could be messy.”

A better outcome would be to allow the election to stand in exchange for conditions that ensure Musharraf will follow through on his promise for civilian rule.

The paper said Musharraf would not renege on his promise to shed his uniform this time, having already named his successor, who is “friendly to the West”.

The WSJ noted that President George W Bush has often been rebuked for his support to Musharraf, often by the same people who deride Bush’s democracy-promotion elsewhere, the Daily Times reported.

Washington has nudged Musharraf towards a political compromise with the secular opposition and the restoration of democracy, the paper pointed. (ANI)

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