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The Achievement That Will Ensure Pervez Musharraf A Place of Honour in History

I want fiercely to share the Presi-dent’s fierce belief in the goodness of his intentions. It will be unfair on my part or on the part of any neutral ‘appraiser’ not to recognize his enormous contribution to the good of Pakistan on many fronts and in many areas during the turbulent years that followed the nine-eleven explosion. Variations in policy-appropriation and viewpoints cannot be discounted, but not a great deal different could have been done to secure Pakistan’s safety in the wake of a power-drunk imperialist’s calculated display of massive insanity. But times are changing.
And changing rapidly. The President despite all the goodness of his intentions cannot afford to remain ‘frozen’ in his past achievements. He has to open his vision to new realities. Of course democracy isn’t a new reality. It has existed in one or the other form in our life times. But now it is breathing on the President’s neck. An old saying says that cloths are there before weather changes. Weather is changing. And clothes are already there. Democracy is so very very keen to embrace Pakistan again. Or perhaps Pakistan is in a wild mood to draw democracy once again into its embrace.
Let this embrace, for a change, be genuine this time. And the man who can do this singular favour to Pakistan and her people is none other than General Pervez Musharraf.
He can spare the nation a lot of pain and a lot of shame by acting in accordance with his national conscience, and in defiance of his self-interest. There is certainly glory in going down into history as the man who gave to the people of Pakistan their first free and fair elections. To this date this singular distinction is enjoyed by General Yahya Khan, but he chose not to doctor, tailor, regulate or rig the 1970 elections because of his belief that ‘the spoils’ of war would be shared by the combatants in such a way that none would have ‘a say of threatening proportions’. Had General Yahya Khan known that Sheikh Mujeeb would have a clean sweep in the East and Bhutto a landslide in the West, he would have created an appropriate machinery to produce ‘doctored results’. As of course has been the case in all the elections subsequently held.
Will General Pervez Musharraf allow the people of Pakistan to have their say really registered, honestly counted, and unhesitatingly announced by an Election Commission that will not be a mock-court of hand-picked judges?

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