The “long march” of Pakistan’s lawyers which seeks to force President Musharraf to resign and to compel judges appointed by him to join the exit has now reached the capital in Islamabad where speeches will greet the marchers. It is estimated the final march will witness about 40,000 people including lawyers, political workers and civil servants. In an editorial in the Lahore Times, the newspaper took to task the entire episode claiming its original purpose for political change has become transformed into a vehicle for political opportunists who are using the lawyers in order to win an election. Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, will be on the platform when marchers arrive to deliver another of his angry speeches insisting Musharraf must go along with judges he appointed. The editors support the current focus of Pakistan People Party leader Zardari who is trying to avoid a constitutional crisis for the newly formed government. He prefers to curb Musharraf’s power and make him ineffective in order to persuade the president to finally resign of his own accord.
There is no question Sharif is using the long march to help him gain political victories in the upcoming elections. The old powerful Musharraf no longer exists. There is sense in Zardari’s approach of restoring old judges while allowing the new ones to remain for the present in order to avoid more turmoil in the nation. Pakistan has numerous problems that require attention without being distracted by the presence of Musharraf. He has already been condemned to the dustbin of history, let him slumber for a period. He will be gone within a year, but Pakistan must focus on its immediate needs.