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Can A Dictator Become A Democrat?

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Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf is not a dictator like Saddam Hussain, former president of Iraq. Musharraf always accepted the ground reality and saved Pakistan from a total catastrophe. He saved Pakistan from total war. There will be no denying the fact that he had committed several blunders in the fast few years, but he is far better than most of the politicians of Pakistan.

Expressing pleasure over the victory of moderate elements and defeat of extremists, President General Musharraf vowed Friday to fully support the new government. Addressing an inaugural ceremony of the project of potable water supply to Jacobabad city here, president Musharraf said the victory of moderate elements in 18 February 2008 election will help eliminating extremism.

The entire world has hailed Pakistan for successfully holding free, fair and transparent elections, Musharraf observed.

According to editorial comment of The News, as had been expected after the country's apex court lifted a stay order against the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), two accountability courts in Rawalpindi dismissed five corruption cases against PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari. He is also expected to get swift relief in two other cases. Alongside Zardari, former FIA director Rehman Malik has also benefited. The dismissal of the cases clears the way for Zardari to hold government office. However, what remains in doubt is whether the ruling by the courts will help lift the stigma of corruption that has tailed Mr Zardari. Although his lawyers are correct when they point out none of the charges made against Asif Ali Zardari and his late spouse Benazir Bhutto have been proved in over a decade, the fact is that the perceptions of wrongdoing take a long time to be corrected.

It is also to be seen if the blatantly biased NRO, which grants blanket amnesty to all those who have held public office between 1986 and 1999, throws up, for the Musharraf regime the dividends it had hoped for. The deal brokered in this respect with Benazir was intended to pave the way for a deal between the PPP and the Musharraf allies. But, the chain of events that has unfolded since last year has today thrown the PPP together with the PML-N, and the possibility is the two parties could opt for steps unpalatable for Musharraf -- such as restoration of the deposed chief justice.

But, Asif Ali Zardari, who today commands the PPP, must seize this opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of the people. After all, the allegations of corruption -- whether true or false -- will in the broader scheme of things, perhaps matter less if the PPP-led government is able to deliver to the people what they most yearn for: an improvement in the quality of their lives. So far, Zardari has spoken strongly of his determination to grant them relief. The PPP must make sure it does not falter in this pledge and re-directs economic policies to benefit the poorest citizens, rather than the more up-market entrepreneurs who were the main beneficiaries in the past. No one would like the images of horses being fed molasses and milk while people starve or of the images of the luxurious interiors of the sprawling Rockwood estate in Surrey, to come back once more to haunt Mr Zardari and his team during the difficult months of governance that lie ahead.
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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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