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Last Updated: Friday, 2 January, 2004, 13:50 GMT
Musharraf confidence vote gets mixed press
Pakistani President Gen Pervez Musharraf

Pakistan's parliamentary votes of confidence legitimising General Pervez Musharraf's position as president have received divergent reactions in the press.

Some papers hope the move will strengthen the future running of the country's political institutions but others express deep reservations.

With the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation summit due to open in Islamabad this weekend, there is also praise for President Musharraf's peace overtures to India over Kashmir.

We may be fortunate enough to enjoy a benevolent dictator today but there is no guarantee that his successor will share either his policies or his temperament.

Daily Times (commentator Ijlal Naqvi)

General Musharraf's decision to change into a civilian president within a stipulated period should reflect itself in both the way he handles government affairs and treats parliament. The prime minister should become more effective and parliament should be given the respect it is accorded in all democracies.

The Nation

According to General Musharraf, these developments should (a) strengthen democracy and (b) set the stage for desperately needed political stability to steer the country out of rough waters. But we have serious reservations. This is a warped "democracy"... Surely by strengthening such an unnatural "democracy" General Musharraf is further distorting the political system rather than straightening out its internal tensions and contradictions.

The Friday Times (columnist Najam Sethi)

He has been accorded legitimacy more because there was no other choice than because he was the candidate that the electoral college wanted to choose.

The Nation (commentator M.A. Niazi)

The best that can be said about the exercise is that it is an affirmation by a majority of the country's legislators of the general's already de-facto position as president.


President Musharraf's announcement - that he will neither dissolve the assemblies nor exceed the limits of his powers under the new amendments - is welcome. But our history shows the total opposite of this. Whenever someone has got absolute power here, he has proved a big menace.


Democracy is now expected to strengthen in the country, and parliament to start functioning the way the nation elected it to a year ago.


It is hoped that Musharraf will now honour his other promises to the nation, and that no such other constitutional deadlock will surface between the government and the opposition in future.


Pakistan's emergence out of its constitutional crisis and President Musharraf's winning of his vote of confidence could have far-reaching impacts on the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation summit, which is only a few days off.


The exclusion of bilateral and contentious issues from the charter of the SAARC... has given space to India and Pakistan to hold the whole organisation hostage to their mutual recriminations. President Musharraf has shown rare courage through his progressive approach to the solution of the Kashmir issue. Indian leadership should also be forthcoming.

The Nation (commentator Amanat Ali Chaudhry)

India should not delay any further.


Some courageous words by our President - reflecting the first glimmer of sanity in our Kashmir policy for 15 years - need all the support they can get from every quarter. Well-done Mr President! Finally, albeit hesitatingly, you have chosen the right path.

Daily Times (commentator Munir Attaullah)

Without resolving the issue of Kashmir, all other efforts for the restoration of trade and relations between Pakistan and India, will prove only temporary.


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.

Parliaments seal Musharraf rule
01 Jan 04  |  South Asia
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30 Dec 03  |  South Asia

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