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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Perspective From the Other Side

Here is M J Akbar's Perspective from across the divide.

Is resurrection possible for a dictator? Always possible. Time is a great restorative. All you have to do is await that moment when your successor has made an even bigger mess than you left behind.I should imagine that the currently-reviled ex-dictator of Pakistan should be back in some demand within a year or so, given the pace at which his tormentors, Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, have begun to torment each other. Having set aside Musharraf, they have begun the far more vicious process of trying to eliminate each other. This is a power-play in which there can be only one victor. Musharraf was the semi-finals. Islamabad is not a big enough town to find space for both Zardari and Sharif.The final resolution of this conflict will only come after another general election.

Sharif has his sights on the Supreme Court, which has become the only reserve bank of credibility in a nation where the Constitution has been amenable to the doctrine of necessity — in simpler words, where the judiciary has legalised events rather than law being the determinant of fact.

Zardari is more audacious, seeking the supreme office in the land, that of the President, since he is surely convinced that he will not get office through a popular vote. Even time has not been able to eliminate the reek of corruption and worse that clings to his reputation.

The only discipline that Musharraf needs to restore his credibility is silence. Given the garrulous ex-dictator's penchant for shooting from the lip with a silver gun, this might be asking for too much. But nothing will serve Musharraf better than a spell of silence while Zardari hogs the national microphone and Sharif waits with growing impatience for Zardari to self-destruct.

Sharif's ideal moment, the point at which he would hope to strike, would be when the PPP had become much weaker and Musharraf had not yet been lifted by the bounce of nostalgia. There will come a time when people will remember the stability and economic growth of the best of Musharraf's tenure.


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