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Crisis In Pakistan Deepening With Each Passing Day

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Pakistan has been passing through a critical time as terrorists and opposition forces have started targetting each others position in tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border. A missile struck a house and a madarssah in South Waziristan early on Thursday, killing at least 14 people and injuring several others.

Sources said that the missile targeted a house and a madarssah in Azam Warsik area of South Waziristan killing 12 and wounded several. Most of the dead were Afghan students and also some foreign extremists. According to sources, the missile was allegedly fired from US predator plane.

On the other hand, opposition parties have geared up their campaign against President Musharraf. They think that they could run Pakistan affairs in a better way. According to The News International comment: The writing is very much on the wall now -- for President Pervez Musharraf that is. Wednesday's gathering in Islamabad of main parliamentary parties in the new National Assembly with leaders Mian Nawaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari and Asfandyar Wali Khan in attendance, set up a new milestone in our chequered history and must be welcomed as a sign of maturity of the political class. That the show of strength had a dual purpose is obvious. It sent a clear message to the president, a few hundred yards away, that the numbers game in the new parliament is over and now he has to summon the National Assembly and invite these parties to form a government as soon as possible. The other message was more personal. It was to Mr Musharraf to see for himself that his opponents had outclassed and outsmarted him and if he was true to his word, he should resign quietly and gracefully exit into history without creating further turmoil and uncertainty in the country.

The numbers demonstrated by the PPP, the PML-N and the ANP at the gathering was perilously close to a two-thirds majority in the new National Assembly. Out of 272, they had 171 present while 181 would have been the magic number. Some seats are still under dispute and given the power of the governments at the centre, Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and even Balochistan, it would be no big deal to cross the 181 mark. Even the numbers in the Senate are rising with the forward blocs and independents swarming towards the new power centres. One resolution in the Senate, against caretaker PM Mohammedmian Soomro's principal secretary's appointment, was passed unanimously on Wednesday. Thus the new political reality is that the anti-Musharraf coalition may soon be in a position to amend the constitution and remove all the distortions that were forced into it after the October 1999 coup. But all this process will become painful and politically destabilizing if President Musharraf, and the remnants of his camp, resist the change and create hurdles by virtue of the powers that he has acquired during the years.

The national mandate is clear and Mr Musharraf would do well to see the writing on the wall, recognize the new reality and understand that he is no longer in a position to stop the change. In fact, he would do well to rise to the occasion and gracefully either let the process take its natural and logical course or quit and take a safe exit. It will be a calamity if he pulls the nation into divisive directions and in the process diverts all the energies of the newly elected politicians from tackling the gigantic issues that confront them to fighting a useless and needless battle with one person. Sometimes one can serve the nation better by allowing others to do the job.
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Muhammad Khurshid, a resident of Bajaur District, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border is journalist by profession. He contributes articles and news stories to various online and print newspapers. His subject matter is terrorism. He is (more...)

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