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Wednesday, October 13, 1999 Published at 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK

Pakistan in turmoil - your reaction

It's great to have the brave soldiers in command of the nation. Democracy does not suit third world countries like Pakistan. National progress has been really bad in last decade of democratic governments.
Tauseef & Zahoor A. Afridi, Singapore

We are talking about a relatively obscure General in control of a primitive, corrupt Islamic State, with their finger on the atomic trigger! I shudder to think about the consequences world-wide.
Abdul Fez, Japan

Just two of the comments Talking Point has received. Read more below.

Background ¦ Your reaction

The Background:

Democratic rule in Pakistan is once again under threat. Soldiers surrounded the residence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and took control of airports and state television and radio.

Pakistan in crisis
The military coup comes shortly after the prime minister removed the head of the army, General Pervez Musharaf from office.

Relations between Mr Sharif and the army were already strained after Pakistan's forces were ordered to pull back from a border conflict with India over Kashmir.

It is not the first time that Pakistan's soldiers have taken charge. The generals have ruled Pakistan for 25 years of its 52-year history.

But Mr Sharif is a democratically elected leader, in fact he enjoys the biggest parliamentary majority in Pakistan's history.

Click here for initial responses to news of the coup

Pakistan in turmoil - your reaction part II

Background ¦ Your reaction

Your Reaction:

We fully support General Musharraf, he did the right job at the right time, but we don't want the martial law. We want the system to be changed not the faces. We need a sincere and faithful leader who can make Pakistan a prosperous state.
F.Siddiqui, Pakistan

I find it hard to believe that people some people think that the military's intervention could be positive. It is not and it could not have been. The first thing that a country like Pakistan needs is democracy. If the Pakistani people voted the wrong guy then maybe they should stick with him for the whole term in order to be more careful the next time. As for the rest of the world, no one can feel safe when nuclear weapons are controlled by dictators. Unfortunately, from the reaction of the media, it looks like the west is ready to accept whatever solution the military imposes, as long as it can be presentable and that is sad.
Nick Pasadakis, Greece

I just hope that when Pakistan returns to Democracy, both Nawaz Sharif and Ms. Bhutto should be kept out of power. Both were twice given the chance to make changes to the country for the better, and both failed each time. Pakistan requires a leader that faithful to the country and not just interested in the bottom line for his own wallet. Sadly there are no such leaders amongst the current lot of politicians.
Abdul Aziz, UK

Being a constitutional lawyer, I feel that supporting the Nawaz Sharif Govt. was to support subversion of the Constitution and a chaotic lawlessness. Therefore, supporting the 'take-over' appears as adherence to the Constitution itself. Like the any other modern constitution, our Constitution does permit an inherent scope for the 'necessity-based-coup'.
Ali Adnan Ibrahim, Pakistan

The world is greatly sorry to hear the sorry state of the Pakistani people. It is deeply a matter of concern for India because such a rogue state has nuclear capability and now a dictator is the head of the country. If somehow the world leaders can think of stripping Pakistani of it's nuclear capability then it will become their internal problem.
Salim.R.K, India

The events in Pakistan are reflective of the complete lack of honour and respect that the politicians have been able to gain from the people of Pakistan and from its armed forces. That a constitutional government could be thrown out as easily as by occupying a TV station goes to show the moral strength of the leaders. That the nation is not shedding tears on the disgrace of the leader it had convincingly elected a few years back goes to show that the politicians do not have any roots among the people. Its a no-win situation for Pakistan.
Nadeem Khan, Karachi,Pakistan

It was a shock to see a tank drive pass our office yesterday afternoon. As a legal apprentice here I have been proud to assist in Constitutional cases in defence of democracy and the Rule of Law. With my friends and colleagues, I wait to see what will become of the legal order and what will be the philosophy to justify the coming laws. Soon I will be licensed to practice as an advocate in this country and I am keen to join in the pursuit of democracy in Pakistan. The people of Pakistan have suffered too much abuse of their rights in their short history. From where will there come a fresh alternative to the mess the rulers have made?
Neil Andrew Moloney, Pakistan

We are happy by the military take over by Gen. Pervez Musharraf. We see more prosperous Pakistan in the coming years as all democratic governments in past were utmost corrupt & they have looted the wealth of Pakistan as their property. We hope this Military Government will get this wealth back from the corrupt politician. It is the IMF & The World Bank who want to make us economical slaves & they know about the corrupt politicians. The people of Pakistan are looking for real leadership & not aid from other countries. Pakistan is full of natural resources, food, all kinds of fruits are grown in our country.
Abdul Waheed, Pakistan

Democracy should be restored to Pakistan at all costs. Military rule there is bound to have its fallout in India and lead to uncertainty and instability in Southeast Asia. No explanation given by the Pakistani military for military rule in that country is justified under any circumstances. The restoration of the democratic process in Pakistan is the only last resort for improvement of relations with India and resumption of the peace process as well as for the recovery of Pakistan's ailing economy. Friendly co-operation between India and Pakistan can lead to a more prosperous future for Southeast Asia in the next millennium.
Saurabh Khanzode, India

Successive governments in Pakistan have been repeatedly corrupt. In whole some of the most honest and fair rule in Pakistan has been the military. The Sharif Government also has numerous investigations going on against it. As well as being responsible for bringing shame on the nation for backing down over Kargil.
Masood Sharif, UK/Italy/Pakistan

Military Rule in Pakistan comes at a time when India and Pakistan are at loggerheads over two very disparate yet concurrent issues, Kargil and Militancy in the Kashmir Valley! If the army goes the way it is purported to go, then a further escalation of tension at the border is imminent. But if the Pak army relinquishes its jingoistic stand on the Kashmir issue and resorts to reason, then a solution to the Kashmir imbroglio could be on the cards. But the question here is, will the army exercise PRUDENCE!?
Manoj Mehta, India

Pakistan has never been a truly democratic country, it's always been ruled by corrupt feudal politicians and the army. But history has proven that Pakistan has somewhat managed to develop a bit only under army rule. Democracy can only flourish when people are educated about their rights and what's good or bad for them! Lets hope our army can establish a system in which worthy education is imparted and then create a truly democratic Islamic state in Pakistan.
Abbas Merchant, Pakistan (studying in the UK)

Well, I'm very much in the favour of this military action taken against the corrupt government of Sharif. Pakistan is passing through the deepest social and economical crisis and needed a major change. History has proven that the political leaders of Pakistan, when in power, have not only failed in the establishment of democracy but have always pushed the economy and the future of the country towards the far-end of the survival. Unfortunately, Martial Law seems the only solution at the time to get things going towards the right direction.
Khurram Khan, Karachi, Pakistan

People are happy over this change and worried too in the sense that for how long this will last. Gen Haq took over in 1977 and promised to go back to barrack within 90 days but he stayed in power till his death (11 years). Pakistan is not a democratic country in the real sense. People cannot cast votes with their free will. How can we claim under such circumstances ourselves a democratic country. Gen. Musharraf, if he is really sincere, should bring some revolutionary changes within shortest possible time. He should abolish feudalism and bring corrupt politicians and bureaucrats to accountability.
Mohammad Shehzad, Pakistan

Democracy does not work in countries like Pakistan & Bangladesh. When so many people are not educated how can they elect or comprehend what political parties propose. The army did the right action as long as they see the implementation of a new government as recommended through an Islamic khalifa system with possibly highly educated persons holding and electing government.
Sajjad Hoque, England

The Army has no right to remove a democratic government. Nawaz Sharif was corrupt, but he is a better choice than an even more corrupt Army. Today, democracy in Pakistan is back to square one.
N. Ahmed, Pakistan

Since the country was not in good shape under Nawaz's regime (even after getting 31 months of gov't. completely in his favour), I comprehend with General Musharaf that army was the final solution. Now I am looking forward towards a Martial Law, even though it does not sound too good but I believe Pakistan now really needs a strong leadership and only Army can provide that.
Adeel Jafri, Canada

Though the army's interference in the governmental process is not the best option, however, Mr. Sharif's total disregard of the constitution, the judiciary, the parliament, the people and the nation had left no choice. I think in this instance Pakistan Army's action is most opportune and a welcome respite from the inapt and corrupt regime of Nawaz Sharif. If the likes of Sharif is to become the democratic leaders then perhaps a majority of Pakistanis would support an army rule.
Mohammad A. Janjua, USA

We the people of Pakistan need to ask ourselves "why do WE tolerate bad government? Why did we elect Nawaz Sharif? I don't care who governs Pakistan and what the system of government might be. I will be happy as long as there is rule of law, prosperity, and safety. All political leaders are corrupt. They should be barred from public offices. Muslim league had to ask Quaid-e-Azam to lead since there was no leader capable of leading Muslims of India. We seem to be in the same situation. Allah Save my country from vultures.

All that happened was overdue. For me it was the incompetence of government to face the core issues particularly the economy and the social sector is a reason enough for this move. It is quite apparent that having frustrated from the corrupt politicians people have always looked to the army as their saviours. I feel that the army chief should start the Ehtisab process and lay the foundations for reforms for development of the people
YY, Japan

It is a blunder what the army has done. They had no right to dismiss a democratic government. Whatever mistakes the government had committed, in a democracy, it is the public who can decide about performance of the government by casting their votes. But this is a slow process and we have started looking for short cuts.
But we should keep in mind that unless we have patience and maturity we cannot change our conditions. Military government is not a solution for our problems and they must be contained to their barracks and duties at border which is what they are for. They must let civil government and public to work out their problems.
Imtiaz, Canada

I think full marks to the General for taking such a bold step. The country was heading towards a disaster and would end up getting more "Taliban". It's great to hear that this has happened. It's best that after some time elections are held but before that all those people are tried and tested and judiciary is restored. There is a lot to take care of. The country is in a mess and is in no position to deal with anything like war or anything of that sort as being suggested by the American Press.
Huma Mansoor, Pakistan

I strongly condemn the recent act of the army in Pakistan. This is completely unconstitutional. I think the Nawaz Sharif government should be restored.
Adnan Alam, USA

It is just a coward action which is taken by coward Pakistani Army to crush and compel all human basic rights and democracy. It seems to me that Jinnah wanted Pakistan only for Army coups to rule whole world.
Srikrishan, India/USA

This is certainly a step in the wrong direction. It is all very well to say that Nawaz Sharif was an incompetent ruler, however what makes anyone feel that Gen. Musharraf will be any better. If he is confident of being a better leader, then he should stand for elections... Martial law is a degeneration of humanity. India should help Pakistan restore democracy.
Karanbir Brar, Punjab, India

I feel that the military should be allowed to rule for six months and implement legislation which would make corruption, in any form, an offence worthy of the death sentence. Only then will we see the actual potential of Pakistan to exist as a democracy in its true context.
Qudoss, UK

Being a Pakistani, I feel very unhappy about the whole situation. I don't know who is right or wrong but I know that this must not be happened. Why this has become our fate. When we will think beyond our egos. First, Nawaz Sharif should not have retired the Chief of Army Staff and secondly, COAF should think about the country's future. I think, they both have ego problems.
Iqbal Khan, Pakistan

Although martial law is not good, Mr. Nawaz Sharif was ruling the country like an elected dictator. He was trying now to destroy the armed forces of Pakistan after the destruction of almost all the institutions in Pakistan including legislative and executive. His ruling was now harmful for our beloved country.
Momy, Pakistan

I think the best thing in the interest of the country would be Martial Law. As we are all aware that people in Pakistan have no other strong political leader other than Benazir Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif. We have given them both the chance twice, and they both failed.
Syed Aliuddin, Pakistan

A change brings with it hopes and fears. Gen. Musharraf has an untarnished reputation as a soldier and consequently expectations run high. However, I hope we get a pro-western administration rather than a despotic regime bent upon imposing a rigid interpretation of Islam on us.
Ahmed Hessaan Zafar, Pakistan

Army Rules!!
Bilal Ahmed, Pakistan

This is absolutely ridiculous: 25 out of 52 years, we have been ruled by the Army! Shame on this country and the people who celebrate a take-over by the army. Not that that Sharif government was good for the country's economy that has gone to shambles, but then the question is: is this the solution? Time and again we have resorted to things which has only brought us to embarrassment in the international community! I hope things would improve fast and we return back to stable democracy.
Puneet Teja, Pakistan

I think that Martial law would definitely bring all the corruption and turmoil position in our country back to normal to some extent. However, what Mr. Pervez tends to do is still unknown. God help our country from this brink of disaster!
Sana Qaz, Saudi Arabia

Lets Hope that Pakistan can use the situation positively to cleanse itself of corruption and re-assert true democracy. The energy wasted between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh - against each other is a crime. They are all the same people of the same culture. The real enemy is to the North - China! Why cannot they see this? Omar Farooq - If you hate dictatorships - why do you and your fellow Arabs tolerate them so readily?
Amjid, UK

I read some of the comments, and it was surprising that quite a few people indeed support the army move. Main reason is that people in Pakistan are tired of corrupt politicians. But they forget that what is the guarantee that army will not go corrupt? After all more powerful one is, more capable of corruption he/she is. This move will halt economic development of the country and Pakistani people should look for some better, democratic way to improve their system.
Umendra, Japan

One step forward then five back, what a terrible tragedy for democracy in Pakistan
Ahmir Ballsurta, USA

Most of the remarks in support of Military rule here say Pakistani politicians are corrupt so Martial Law is acceptable. Military has ruled Pakistan since its existence in front seat or back seat. Pakistan military is and has been part and partial of corruption in Pakistani politics. The people of Pakistan are desperate for change and under these conditions finding no other way then to hope for an illusive corruption free change failing to understand that dictatorship is always biggest source of corruption. I wonder when the people of Pakistan will wake up!
R. Ali, Belgium

Pakistan Army was already ruling the country from behind the scene so it makes no difference. This is the reason why the take-over was very smooth without any resistance. Heads of all key government departments are from army so army was already controlling the country. Nawaz Shraif has himself to blame because his political career started under martial law regimes. He went against the wishes of his 'creators' and paid the price. Best wishes for the common people of Pakistan
Naveed Ahmed, Pakistan

Last night's military coup by General Pervaiz Musharraf is not good for Pakistan. Because no matter how much is Nawaz's Govt a failure, but after all it was an elected body. And there wasn't a very grave situation like an economic debacle or agitation that this move could be justified.
As for as the Kargil situation is concerned, Nawaz Sharief was an elected PM and he was having the authority to take any step which was in the larger interest of the country, until there is an elected civilian Govt, the army have to abide by the rules and orders of the elected govt. Hence the Army should go back to its barracks and take over its professional controls rather than controlling the country's politics.
Engr. Mohammad Arif Jan Sherpao, Pakistan

I welcome this move and I think it is long over-due. Past Pakistani governments have shown their incompetence. Corrupts regimes have no place in today's world.
Nauman Hameed, Finland

Coup attempts were made in the past but what was the outcome? Is there any change in the Nation's economy - the only change is instigating terrorism through out the world. If the people elected government is dethroned then it is with the people to decide as to what is the next outcome - but definitely not the military rule.
Sathya, India

Islamic Style Democracy. I have travelled the whole of Middle East and Pakistan. Ask any one in these countries "Do you believe in Democracy". The answer is always "Koran shows us the way how a country should be ruled and that authority should be with one single leader. Islam does not believe in having opposition parties.
If you see in the whole Islamic world from Arabia to Zanzibar, people want to be ruled according to the Koran by one leader. Democracy will always fail in the Islamic world. Pakistan has proved over and over again.
F. Goodin, Canada

The coup in Pakistan once again demonstrates the stark contrast between India and Pakistan. India is a secular, multi-religious democracy that has enjoyed democratic rule for all but two years since Independence. Pakistan is a failed state, based on religion, controlled by a feudal land-owning class and a powerful military. Its creation was a mistake, its people the big losers. India is no paradise, with millions still mired in poverty, but Pakistan is surely a disaster.
In terms of education, women's rights, religious freedom, technical and scientific achievement, and a host of other indicators, it ranks far below India. Moreover, it is constantly racked with violent conflict between various groups. In international affairs, Pakistan was instrumental in bringing the Taliban to power in Afghanistan, and it has been occupying a third of Kashmir since 1948, while fomenting rebellion and terrorism in the Indian-ruled part of the state. Pakistan's latest attempt at aggression in Kashmir shows that this is truly a rogue state.
Nyegosh Dube, Poland

I fully support the action taken by Pakistan Army. Nawaz Govt. really sabotaged all the major institutions of Pakistan including judiciary, president and parliament. All the MPs of ruling party were legally bound not to contradict with any policy of the PM in and out of the parliament which created a worst kind of monarchy in Pakistan.
He introduced terrible and destructive amendments in the constitution in a strange manner. You can judge the support of Nawaz Sharif in the public by the fact that people celebrated ouster of his government. I welcome this bold step by the army and expect that very soon a competent and honest political government will be set up in Pakistan.
Abrar, Pakistan

It is interesting to see people reach a verdict so fast. As of yet, General Musharaf has not outlined any policies. We are still not aware of what he intends to do with the power that he has just assumed. The main question that needs to be answered right now is, "Is the army interested in holding fair and impartial elections in the next three months or not?" If they are going to hold elections then we need to know how they plan to run the country during the interim period. If they are not interested in having elections then we need to know what their plans are before jumping to conclusions and passing judgements.
Farid Ahmed Khan, Pakistan

Between corrupt politicians and authoritarian generals, perhaps Pakistan is better off with the latter, at least at the present time. On the India-Pak front, this may lead to a lot more sabre-rattling (given the Hindu & Muslim fanatics ruling on either side) but not anything more than that.
Abdul Kasim, USA

Pakistan has gone back to its dark ages it has reached the point of no return. It is indeed very very bad that a country put in a forward gear is again pulled back to reverse gear.
Abdul Wahab, Pakistan

I hope that the Army can reorganise Pakistan, which is emerged in economic and social chaos. We must consider that Nawaz Sharif himself created this situation, acting as an elected dictator.
Eurico das Neves Junior, Brazil

We may never have approved of military coup but Mr Nawaz Sharif himself has paved the way for this. He should have learned from his repeated mistakes but he didn't.
Farrukh Aziz, Pakistan

If this action has been taken for the safety and solidarity of Pakistan then it is bit late
Akhter Ali, UK

It's a sad day for the democratic institutions of the world. Its ironic that while India celebrates the conclusion of the worlds largest democratic exercise, Pakistan, with the same cultural background has to still live in medieval times. I hope that time will teach everyone that there is nothing better than friendship to usher an era of successful progress. If someone cannot respect the spirit of constitution, how can he/she respect the spirit of a more abstract entity like religion??
Rohit Kaila, USA

People in Islamabad don't seem to be shocked by this. Perhaps most of them were not happy about what was going on in our markets and business and now let's hope for the best.
Ahmad Hashmi, Pakistan

People are very happy, and want accountability of all the political figures in Pakistan without any further delay. It is the need of time, since the country is in bad shape due to the wrong policies of the government.
Ahmad Saeed, Pakistan

Democracy and martial law are two opposite things. Martial law can control current crises but can not enhance the development in the country. The only thing we need is still democracy, a true democracy which can give us chance to enter in the 20th century successfully. I liked Gen. Musharaf's action at this moment but not like to see him in future as Chief Martial Law Administrator. He should think for new elections so that our people can decide what to do now, might be Imran Khan or Sharif again. Thank you.
Ihsan Elahi, Pakistan

Military Coup, irrespective of its reasons and justification, in any country, is worst than any kind of democracy. People of Pakistan should recall their previous experience and should never accept the dictatorship.
Abdul Samad Khan, India

The military coup in Pakistan is a consequence of successive governments funding the military with expenditure disproportionate to the country's wealth. Unsurprisingly Pakistani governments live and die at the mercy of the military. This is just another level of corruption, not only have Pakistani administrations attempted to bribe the ruling elite, the fundamental institutions but also the army - this time it has backfired. One cannot stand back and expect the military to stay hushed when the country has been crumbling. Expect more volatility and India beware!
Suhail Mirza, United Kingdom

I think that Pakistan should maintain the military rule for sometime so that the menace of the society should be de-rooted.
Ali Jaffery, Pakistan

If it is good for the future of the country we welcome the Army to run Pakistan. We have experienced that nearly every politician in our country is corrupt. We will want the Army to take over and get those buckets of foreign exchange back from all these people.
M. Belal Zafar, Pakistan

Though it is sad to introduce myself as a native of a country which is unable to find a good leadership over the last 52 years, I believe that every time a government is sacked the ray of hope amongst us again brightens. This time too, in spite of the sacking of a democratic government, every body here has put high hopes on the next set up.
Kashif Raheem Sheikh, Islamabad, Pakistan

What this shows us is that - compared to India, for instance - Pakistan is still a very backward country ruled by a bunch of bozos with a banana-republic mindset. The contrast between Pakistan and India is revealing - India prospers - both economically and as a democracy. Pakistan, on the other hand, is suffering and having another fit of coupomania.
Kris Helsen, Belgium

Democracy is in the best interest of stable & strong Pakistan, but shame on our political leaders who have totally failed to run democratic process in our country. They are among luckiest persons in the world having a chance to rule twice but they proved to be leeches; sucking blood of the nation. It is the to be blamed for present situation. As of now, I strongly urge the military leadership to take all the steps to bring back all the wealth looted by these political leaders.
K. Sahibzada, Canada

Pakistan is at best a medieval, theocratic state which gets bouts of democracy. Recent defeat in Kargil is one of the biggest reasons for the coup. The thing to be feared is who has control of the nukes and when does Pakistan give the nukes to the Taliban!!! The title of rouge army for the Army seems very apt!
Manoj, India

Thank God. Mr Sharif has gone. In his times our country has gone deep in instability of economical developments.
M Shoaib Sultan, Pakistan

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