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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pakistan Elections: Hamid Mir

Hamid Mir reinforces what I had mentioned earlier. He says both PPPP and PML (N) would ask Musharraf to resign. Nothing new there. It is public knowledge. But he skips over another important point. Nawaz wants the Iftikhar Chaudhry Supreme Court restored while Asif Zardari drags his feet.

An independent judiciary is good news for all of Pakistan, but bad news for all past politicians who have charges of corruption and abuse of laws pending against them. Mir glosses over this.

Asif appears to be the more astute of the two and would seek some kind of insurance or amnesty before he agrees to their restoration. Nawaz appears naive in asking for a independent court. May he get what he wishes!

What now, after the D-day - Hamid Mir

It is expected that if they secure a majority, the two parties will ask Musharraf to resign immediately. And what will happen if Musharraf were to leave the scene? Will the PPP and the PML-N be able to co-exist for five years? Indeed, surviving as a coalition for such a period of time will be a big challenge for the PPP and the PML-N. They may develop differences over the restoration of the dozens of superior court judges who refused to take oath after the imposition of emergency last November. If these judges are restored, they could, in theory, re-open some old cases against Mr Zardari. If the PPP can find a way to cooperate towards the restoration of deposed judges, then it will be a significant breakthrough.

A majority of Pakistanis want the restoration of all the 60 judges, including Chief Justice Iftikhar

Muhammad Chaudhry. In that case, all the judges appointed after November 3, 2007 will be removed. The media will also enjoy more freedom. If the PPP and the PML-N are ready to tolerate an independent judiciary and free media then parliament will also be strengthened. And that is important because only a strong and sovereign parliament can give stability to the country.

It will be this new parliament which will decide the future strategy of the war against terror in Pakistan. Both Mr Zardari and Mr Sharif are convinced that they must redefine their relationship with the United States on the reasoning that the war must be fought but for the sake of Pakistan and not America. In that regard, the Feb 18 election could also herald the downfall of the policies of President George W Bush in Pakistan.

The writer works for Geo TV and is currently barred from appearing on television because of government restrictions. Email:


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