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President Should Benefit From This Favour

The Lawyers’ community of the country may well have done the government a great favour by organizing CJP’s epic journey from Islamabad to Lahore last weekend. The 300 -KM distance was covered in about 26 hrs which is why this journey has all the ingredients of being termed as an epic—of maybe not the proportions of Odyssey—but certainly of a lasting significance.
The reason I tend to call it a favour to President Pervez Musharraf’s regime is that it has given him an excellent opportunity to accurately gauge and realistically assess the public mood and sentiments. One of the worst things that can happen to an incumbent setup is the danger of its top bosses getting divorced from reality.
The likelihood of such a dangerous possibility becoming a tangible fact, is much greater in a system which is built on authoritarianism. President Pervez Musharraf, in order to acquire accurate comprehension of his popularity (or lack of it) should rely less on the capability of his cronies and protégés to organize ‘hugely attended’ gatherings and rallies and more on ‘the honest and objective’ feel of the public pulse.
Despite whatever judgment is passed by his opponents on his right to intervene in the affairs of governance on the night of the 12th of October 1999, I tend to believe that, had Pervez Musharraf opted to go for a referendum on his popularity in the early months of his rule, he would actually have won a ‘landslide’ sort of ‘approval’.
Seven or so years later, President Pervez Musharraf finds himself caught up in a two-pronged challenge—one to find a suitable strategy to arrest the progressive decline in his acceptability — and the other to construct a suitable rationale to use the power of his uniform as a shield to protect his protégés, most of whom happen to be responsible for his woes.

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