Musharraf Claims Opponents Lie

President Pervez Musharraf argues his attacks on the Pakistan judiciary have led adversaries to give it a “political colour” and now an “ethnic colour.” Musharraf has been one of America’s most steadfast allies in the Muslim world and Asia in the fight to defeat radical elements opposing the war in Iraq. Ghazi Abdul Rashid, an important Pakistani religious leader recently warned, “If the government tries to suppress the change that our movement is demanding, then there is a likelihood of Talibanization…We are not only challenging Musharraf, we are challenging the system.”

The Bush administration regards Musharraf as a key person in the fight against what is termed “terrorism” and the attempt to foster democracy. But, he is also the individual who has aroused the entire legal system of Pakistan because of his attacks on an independent judiciary. America will pour billions into military aid, but the real struggle in Pakistan is creating an entrepreneurial economy that offers employment opportunities and is concerned about creating a modern education system.

But it is even more complicated due to Saudi Arabian support for Muslim style education that encourages youth to join the Taliban. On one hand, America wants Musharraf to challenge the religious style education propagated in Muslim schools, while on the other hand, our ally in the struggle “to spread democracy” is pumping millions to educate youth in a fundamentalist Wahabbi view of the world. In a sense, American policy toward Musharraf and Pakistan is symbolic of confusion reigning within the Bush administration.

A modern thinking young Pakistani only has to look across the border at a booming Indian economy that increasingly is high tech, while within his own nation Saudi funded religious schools encourage rote memory of the Koran. If the United States was serious about fostering democracy in Pakistan it might demand Saudi Arabia cease supporting religious schools whose curriculum leads youth to join the Taliban. We might urge Musharraf to work with the judiciary in creating political conditions conducive to democracy.
Information from Dawn and Daily Times of Pakistan

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