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.