Tag Archives: Bhutto

Musharraf–Who Exactly Supports Him?

Pakistan’s President Musharraf has endured turmoil, conflict, and eroding support from various sectors of what once was his alliance of friends. The United States is beginning to turn away from him as their attention shifts to Pakistan military leaders, Saudi Arabia has lost confidence in his ability to govern, and the latest BBC World Service poll reveals a large majority of Pakistanis — 64%– believe the stability and security of Pakistan would improve “if President Pervez Musharraf were to resign now.” Only about 25% of respondents believe things would get worse if he left. There is little doubt he did stabilize the nation in the 1990s and allowed freedom of expression to emerge.

Perhaps, his greatest mistakes stem from keeping Benazir Bhutto’s party, the PPP, and the PML-N out of an active role in government. America forced him to accept an alliance with Bhutto and Saudi Arabia forced Nawaz Sharif to be allowed to participate in politics. His efforts to get himself elected for a secomd five year stint and is firing of Supreme Court justices began the process of creating extensive discontent throughout the nation. His actions sparked the lawyer rebellion and in the aftermath of the Bhutto death, the nation appeared to plunge into chaos.

The best thing for Pakistan is for the PPP and the PML-N to assume some role in government. At the least, it allows Musharraf to share success and failure with others. In the long run, his days in leadership are numbered. The main problem is no figure stands out as cacpable of assuming leadership in the difficult times that lay ahead.

Benazir Bhutto Will Designates Husband As Leader

The will of assassinated leader Benazir Bhutto is now being revealed to the public. In her will, Ms. Bhutto designates her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, as her successor in the role of Prime Minister of Pakistan and terms him “a man of courage and honour. He has the political stature to keep our party united.” Naturally, Zardari echoes the feelings of his dead wife by regarding himself as the perfect man to lead Pakistan in these difficult times if his People’s Party of Pakistan wins an electoral majority in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The history of Mr. Zardari reveals scant evidence of his brilliance or “honour” in leadership. He is a corrupt individual who has a reputation of hiring incompetents and those who want to join him in the task of using government for enrichment possibilities. Pakistan needs new leadership, not relics of the old corrupt era of the Bhuttos.

Musharraf Claims Bhutto Unpopular With Army

President Musharraf of Pakistan told Newsweek in an interview appearing online that assassinated leader Benazir Bhutto was very unpopular with his nation’s military leaders and termed her an “unreligious person” who lacked the capability of fighting terrorism. The Taliban and al-Qaeda seek to destroy his society, but he intends to fight and defeat their efforts recognizing full well “they want to weaken me, they think they can take kover Pakistan.” He also opposed any investigation by a UN body into the killing of Bhutto.

Babar Awan, a leader in Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party, denied that she was unpopular with the military and noted that as prime minister Bhutto had worked with military leaders in a cooperative manner. He termed Musharraf, “the most unpopular and hated military leader” who had no right to speak for the entire Pakistan military leadership.

Senator John Kerry commented yesterday that he had been told by Bhutto of her request to Musharraf for additiional security and had been denied that protection. Kerry said he communicated her concerns to the US State Department. Perhaps, President Musharraf fears an honest investigation which might eventually wind up identifying people who are close to him.

Pakistan Vote Delayed For Six Weeks

Pakistan’s Election Commission announced a postponement of the scheduled election this month until February 18 despite protests by Benazir Bhutto supporters. Observers expected a vote on January 8 would have resulted in a massive sympathy vote for the fallen leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party. Nawaz Shariff, leader of the PML-N, and an ally of Bhutto, strongly urged continuation of the voting process next week. President Musharraf is expected to address his nation today to discuss the election as well as agree to incorporation of foreign observers in an investigation of the assassination of Ms.Bhutto.

The George Bush grand design for a coalition of Bhutto and Musharraf had already collapsed long before her death. If election results on February 18 result in a victory for Musharraf’s Pakistan Muslim League party, one can expect the nation of Pakistan to erupt in anger such as never before in its history. Bush simply does not grasp the anger toward Musharraf among many Pakistanis.

Musharraf–Uniter-In-Chief?

The tragic death of Benazir Bhutto has left her nation in shambles as members of the Pakistan Peoples Party march through the streets shouting slogans about the “General Killer” who they blame for her assassination. The out pouring of sympathy and respect for the brave Pakistan leader has, unfortunately, transformed a flawed person into an heroic icon. Ms. Bhutto, as prime minister, supported formation of the Taliban and undoubtedly was well aware that nuclear knowledge was being conveyed to other parts of the world. But, she did possess the quality of bravery and this is something President Musharraf must now demonstrate during the long night his nation now confronts.

What can President Musharraf do in order to unite his grief stricken country? He must first recognize that a victory for his Pakistan Muslin League in next week’s election will only further fracture Pakistan. Musharraf must rise above party concerns and reach out to the PPP and his opponent, Nawaz Shariff. A plea from the president to his countrymen to vote for PPP candidates and those of Shariff would resonate with people chanting hatred toward him. This approach would cast him as a statesman who has abandoned partisan party politics in order to unify his divided nation. He could appoint a bipartisan commission to thoroughly investigate and reform the notorious ISI which is believed by many to have had a role in the assassination. Regardless of whether the rumors are accurate, the leadership of the ISI must be thoroughly revamped in order to restore public confidence.

President Musharrf has never displayed statesmanlike qualities because in his heart there is a hunger for order and control. He may wind up selecting the road of authoritarianism or he can walk down the more precarious road to democracy. If PPP candidates and Shariff win control of Parliament, they can unite with the president and address issues of poverty and terrorism. The alternative is further division, further chaos, and further terrorism.

Issue Of Pakistan Election Creates Confusion

Pakistan continues to experience chaos in the aftermath of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. New reports indicate the original belief she was killed by bullets and shrapnel from the explosion were incorrect. The latest version is the shockwave fro the blast threw her body against the reinforced sunroof of the car and that led to her death. Bhutto supporters are still marching chanting slogans like “General Killer” since they believe the president of Pakistan was somehow responsible for the death of their leader. The Pakistan army has orders to fire on sight against any violent demonstrators and these encounters so far have resulted in the death of at least 31 people.

Acting Prime Minister Mohammedian Soomoro insists the elections “stan as they are” and there are no plans to cancel them. Nawaz Shariff, a past opponent, but recently an ally of Bhutto has threatened to boycott the election, but his final decision has yet to be made. Foreign leaders like England’s Gordon Brown and President Bush are urging no delay in the election. The issue of a delay is vital. The Pakistan Peoples Party is not ready at this moment to offer a full slate for the election and its leadership is in turmoil. Certainly, waiting a few weeks will not alter the democratic process. Shariff should have an opportunity to have discussions with PPP leaders and work out an electoral strategy. Bush and Brown are making a mistake in urging continuation of the election. If Musharraf’s party gains a large majority it will only lead to future riots. It is time to take a deep breath and allow the PPP an Shariff to decide when they wish the election to occur.

Benazir Bhutto Charges Musharraf Aided Taliban Regrouping

Benazir Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party(PPP) charged that President Musharraf is partially responsible for the resurgence of the Taliban in areas of her nation as well as in Afghanistan. She claims the Taliban were crushed by American forces in Afghanistan and when they fled to safety in Pakistan, they were able to regroup. “They could not do that unless there is some support from the government or the intelligence.” She is casting her candidacy as the main force capable of halting Pakistan’s movement toward a government in which fundamentalist leaders exert control. Bhutto charges President Musharraf as using the fundamentalist militants in order to gain victory in the January election. She believes only her triumph in the election will result in a government dedicated to moving Pakistan out of medieval thinking and called for major education reforms of the religious madrassas schools. Her political ally, Nawaz Sharif’s petition to stand for public office was rejected by the Musharraf government.

Secretary of State Rice calls for “free and fair elections” in which all parties have equal access to the media, Benazir Bhutto is charging Musharraf with seeking to empower religious fundamentalist, and opposition leaders are denied the right to run for public office. There is a confusing mixture of hope and fear in the midst of an election in which America’s supposed ally is linking his fortunes to cooperating with religious fundamentalist leaders who support the Taliban, an enemy of the United States. A triumph by Musharraf whose fortunes are linked with those of George Bush would only result in aiding forces which are hostile to American interests. Does anyone wonder how the United States wound up in this situation? Is there a coherence in American foreign policy is a question the American people might well pose?

Benazir Bhutto Will Contest Election, Despite Possible Rigging

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto expects her Pakistan People’s Party(PPP) to pick up additional seats in the January election, but will have to become part of a coalition in order to govern. She said a coalition with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is possible, but she would not form any alliance with clerics or any political group that is affiliated with President Musharraf. “No one will accept a Q victory,” she said, referring to Musharraf’s wing of the Pakistan Muslim League. Bhutto emphasized the president lacks support in the nation and people are forced to attend his rallies. Bhutto believes the only way Musharraf’s party can gain large numbers of seats in parliament is through manipulation of the voting process. She urged the United States to send observers to the election. One of here supporters, Supreme Court Bar Association President Altazaz Ahsan, announced he would not run for a seat in parliament because the entire process has been rigged by Musharraf supporters.

President Musharraf said he would “try to work with anyone who comes to power after the elections,” but such a task will be difficult for those who resent the state of emergency decree and his sacking of supreme court judges. To make matters worse for Musharraf, there are reports al-Qaeda is planning to assassinate him on his next trip to Karachi. They are planning to blow up a bridge he will cross after leaving the airport. It is unfortunate that Musharraf muddied the waters of electoral honesty by declaring a state of emergency and imprisoning hundreds of lawyers and judges. The world will watch closely what happens in the January election.

Musharraf Opponents Threaten Boycott– Maybe, Maybe Not

The decision of President Musharraf to impose a state of emergency is the root cause of current uncertainty on the part of opposition parties regarding whether or not they should participate in the January election for a new parliament. Nawaz Sharif, head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, initially stated his intent to boycott the election on grounds it was being rigged by Musharraf. Now, that the All Parties Democratic Movement has decided to participate, Sharif has had a change of heart. “I will lead the fight in every corner of the country if the APDM and other parties decide to contest elections.” He told representatives from 14 Muslim nations that Musharraf is not allowing a free election which makes difficult participating in what he considers to be a fraud. However, since some parties will participate he intends to change his mind. Meanwhile, Benazir Butto, head of the Pakistan People’s Party indicated she would be a reluctant participant in what she claims is a fixed election.

There is no question President Musharraf has created uncertainty and he continues making it difficult for an honest election to occur. Perhaps, it is time for him to completely end the state of emergency, invite representatives from Arab nations and the UN to monitor the election, and shift the election from January to about March which would provide opponents more ample time to present their views to the nation.

Pakistan Election Still Unclear Say Musharraf Opponents

The political opponents of President Musharraf in Pakistan are still debating their course of action — participate in the January election or institute a boycott in protest against the unconstitutional actions by the president. Nawaz Sharif, who recently returned from exile to lead his party, said he had worked out any differences with Benazir Bhutto who heads the Pakistan People’s Party over what to do about participating in the election. He termed the election a “fraud” and charged Musharraf with having “murdered the judiciary” by his dismissal of the Supreme Court. Benazir Bhutto told representatives of Arab and other countries that she was holding open the option of boycotting the election. She told the American representative that creating a democratic Pakistan was the only way to fight “the plague of terrorism.” Bhutto intends to coordinate her electoral actions with her former enemy, Sharif.

The European Union is still undecided as to whether or not it will send observers to the Pakistan election. There is still a great deal of confusion regarding which parties will actually participate in an election that most objective observers regard as tainted by the actions of Musharraf to dismiss a Supreme Court and to impose a state of emergency.