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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 January, 2005, 06:26 GMT
Uniform dismay at Musharraf's army decision

After Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf confirmed that he will remain head of the army, many papers are worried that the country's democratic institutions are being compromised.

Some also fear that opposition calls for protests against the decision will only add to the country's political deterioration.

President Musharraf's decision to retain the office of army chief of staff is not unexpected, but it is definitely sad and regrettable... It will not be long before he realises his mistake, but this realisation and awareness will not be of much benefit then.

Commentary in Jang

President Musharraf's address to the nation has given the impression that the present political system is unable to survive or remain stable on its own... It gives the impression that this country is not worth a real democratic parliamentary system; that democracy in Pakistan can only flourish under the patronage of the uniform.


After this announcement, there is no choice for the nation but to accept the military uniform as democracy, as it has done in the past - not only because it is an order by the present ruler, but because elected representatives are unanimous that democracy cannot be sustained for even a day without President Musharraf's uniform.

Commentary in Ausaf

The 9/11 incidents shook the entire world. But none of the world's 200 countries felt the need for military rule or uniform to confront this... Pakistan is the only country where the uniform has been declared indispensable, but there are clear signs that it is taking the country towards another era of instability and chaos.

Commentary in Nawa-i-Waqt

President Musharraf said there would be no continuity in [his] policies if he doffed his uniform. But what are the use of policies linked to an individual's uniform?


There will always be a big question mark over how far the uniform would help in brightening the country's future. In spite of President Musharraf's announcement, the uniform will remain a disputed issue.

Commentary in Nawa-i-Waqt

Now [the opposition alliance Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA)] will make both his presidency as well as his uniform a target of severe criticism. The Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy and MMA have already announced a joint struggle against Musharraf's uniform. If this joint anti-government move goes ahead, it will not prove good for either the president, the government or the opposition, or for the nation.


Under present circumstances, what is required is for the political forces to demonstrate reconciliation, unity and understanding... Our country cannot afford repeat experiments in democracy.


BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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