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Thursday, 23 March, 2000, 10:57 GMT
Analysis: Musharraf's record in power
Men handing out sweets
Post-coup celebrations: But is the mood changing?
By Owen Bennett-Jones in Islamabad

General Pervez Musharraf came to office last year amid high hopes - many Pakistanis expressed relief that the government of Nawaz Sharif had fallen.

Pakistan in crisis
In a televised address to the nation after seizing power in October, General Musharraf outlined his plans for Pakistan.


Women selling vegetables
Reviving the economy was a key pledge
"Quite clearly, what Pakistan has experienced in the recent years has been merely a label of democracy, not the essence of it," he said.

"Our people were never emancipated from the yoke of despotism. I shall not allow the people to be taken back to the era of sham democracy."

He also said the corrupt would be brought to justice, the economy would be revived, and that Pakistan's place in the world would be assured.

It was a message that went down well.

Shifting mood

But now some observers detect a shift in the public mood.



The economy isn't moving up, as it was supposed to. There are no job opportunities, prices are still the same.

Newspaper editor Talaat Sayed
According to Talaat Hussein Sayed, editor of one of the main English language dailies The News, there is disillusionment because there is no perceptible performance on many of the issues that matter to people.

"The economy isn't moving up, as it was supposed to. There are no job opportunities, prices are still the same. So people are asking this question that if this is what the deal was all about, you know, what's the difference?"


General Musharraf
General Musharraf: 'Hopes being fulfilled'
Pakistan, of course, remains a poor country where many people are out of work and find it difficult to buy even the necessities of life.

At the time of the coup, an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis expressed support for the military.

Some still do, but others are beginning to have their doubts.

Too early

As you might expect, senior figures in the new government say that it's too early for their performance to be judged.

And at least, they argue, things are going in the right direction.



One feels that not only have hopes been fulfilled, they have in a sense been consolidated and strengthened

Policy adviser Javed Jabbar
Javed Jabbar, General Musharraf's adviser on national affairs, says that even if the honeymoon period is coming to an end, that should come as no surprise.

"This is the inevitable consequence that all governments face, whatever their nature," he argues.

He says there has been a marked improvement in the economy, which was a prime concern of the new government.

"The synthesis between a civilian and a military facet of government is taking unique shape. One feels that not only have hopes been fulfilled, they have in a sense been consolidated and strengthened," says Mr Jabbar.

Most of the elected politicians ousted by the coup are still not very open in their criticism of the military.

Privately, many of them say they are waiting for public opinion to swing more decisively against the army before they mount a more concerted campaign for the restoration of democracy.

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See also:

17 Oct 99 | South Asia
Musharraf promises 'true democracy'
15 Dec 99 | South Asia
'Painful' measures for Pakistan
15 Feb 00 | South Asia
Pakistan 'may miss growth target'
14 Oct 99 | The Economy
Pakistan's economic nightmare
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