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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Pakistan Elections: What Haroon Says

Haroon Siddiqui has written another column in today's Star. He nails the U.S. p-o-v saying that "As for the U.S., which calls Musharraf "an indispensable ally," all it wants is a democratic sheen to his rule, to battle on against the Taliban and Al Qaeda and chair the National Command Authority, which safeguards the nuclear weapons."

No telling where Pakistan is headed

Musharraf is as unpopular among Pakistanis as George W. Bush, whose bidding he is seen to be doing in the war on terror. Osama bin Laden is outpolling both.

Musharraf has alienated not just the jihadists and non-violent Islamists but also the secularists.

He has frittered away the goodwill he had garnered by nursing a near-bankrupt economy to health, promoting moderate Islam, freeing the media, opening political space for women and turning a pariah state into a global player.

He was undone by his authoritarianism: firing the chief justice, squashing the lawyers' pro-democracy movement, ordering his re-election by lame-duck assemblies and changing the constitution through presidential decrees.

He even misjudged the militants in the tribal areas along Afghanistan, alternatively bombing them and befriending them. They have brought their war to the urban centres with suicide bombings.


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