Progress in Pakistan.
I am mighty pleased to see the Dallas Morning News editorial, expressed in similar tone as my op-ed two days ago.
I hope the new coalition government in Pakistan reflects the sentiments of her people, except one election a few years ago; the Pakistani people have consistently rejected the religious right, and have always chosen a moderate path. Unfortunately, the people of Pakistan never got a government that reflected their aspirations. I am pleased to see the Dallas Morning News make a note of that.
It is also time to appreciate President Musharraf, despite being a dictator; he did not hinder the democratic process in the last few weeks, nor did he curb the media even though it was to his detriment.
Justice, fairness and inclusion will go long ways. May Pakistan become a democracy and work on checking the extremism and become a source of peace and prosperity to herself and to the subcontinent comprising of India and Afghanistan as its neighbors.
Together, they can meet their first obligation to the people – Hope. Education, employment, freedom, security and safety to raise families who would be contributors to the world peace and co-existence.
Progress in Pakistan
Dallas Morning news
06:48 AM CST on Thursday, February 21, 2008
Good news, for once, from Pakistan: The religious parties lost badly in the recent parliamentary elections, giving lie to President Pervez Musharraf's claim that he's the only thing keeping the nuclear-armed Muslim nation from being lost to the radicals.
It's a fortunate thing that the Islamist parties did so poorly, because Mr. Musharraf's party did even worse. This week's results represented a total rejection of the autocratic president, who has bullied the judiciary and the news media in an increasingly desperate bid to hold on to power.
The United States, which placed all its chips on Mr. Musharraf, is now left with its Pakistan policy in ruins.
The only reasonable thing left for the Pakistani president to do is resign. And the Bush administration must now reconcile itself to the new realities in Pakistan and reach out wholeheartedly to the centrist, relatively secular Pakistan People's Party and the Muslim League, the two big winners of Monday's balloting.
Leaders of both parties – Asif Ali Zardari, widower of assassinated Pakistan People's Party leader Benazir Bhutto, and the Muslim League's Nawaz Sharif – would be wise to exercise humility and magnanimity in victory. Both parties' pasts in Pakistan were rife with corruption. Mr. Sharif's crooked reign in 1999 caused the Pakistani military to overthrow him and suspend democracy, making Gen. Musharraf, then Army chief, the nation's ruler.
It may be damning him with faint praise, but Mr. Musharraf, who retired as military head in November, apparently and laudably decided to let this week's elections go off with relatively few attempts at vote-rigging, which had been widely feared.
Perhaps he underestimated the depth of his unpopularity, or perhaps he knew that stealing this election would tear his country apart. Whatever the reason, he has done his nation a favor.
He could do it an even greater service by resigning or fading into the background by restoring the presidency to its largely ceremonial role. He could do either, consoled that the Pakistani people, while rejecting him, also rejected the forces of religious extremism. Now comes the rebuilding of civil society, the free press and the independent judiciary. Thanks to Pakistani voters, what some call the world's most dangerous nation has become a bit less so.
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