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Monday, 20 December, 2004, 10:53 GMT
Pakistan: Democratic solution?

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A party allied to Pakistan's military leader has won the most seats in the country's first general elections since the overthrow of the last democratically-elected government three years ago.

The Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-e-Azam won 77 of the 272 contested constituency seats, according to the official count.

The Pakistan People's Party, aligned with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto - who was banned from participating - came in second with 63 seats.

But a coalition of religious parties which has criticised President Pervez Musharraf for backing the American military campaign in Afghanistan has done much better than expected, coming a strong third.

Observers say the religious parties could hold the balance of power, as no one party will have a majority in the new assembly.

Earlier this year President Musharraf announced constitutional amendments which would allow him to dissolve the newly elected parliament at will.

In spite of the protestations of opposition politicians, military rule has often been seen by many ordinary Pakistanis as being preferable to corrupt and incompetent civilian governments.

So is democracy necessarily the best path for Pakistan at this time? Will the elections result in genuine democracy for the country?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

I am astonished when people say that demoocracy is not for Pakistan. Whatever the shortcomings of a democratic system, especially in a poor country with low literacy rate, the main benfit of a democratic system is that the rulers can be changed peacefully without resorting to violence, revolutions or military coups. Secondly, the masses may not be able to analyse and discuss the relevant issues but they know whom they want to be in power.
Vinay Mehra, Surrey, U.K.

Pakistan needs elections and real reforms. Leaders like Musharraf should go and good leaders should be in power. Leaders should not use "Kashmir" as vote bank to steal the votes. Many people are starving - but the Pakistani leader doesn't care he needs his seat and doesn't have any regard for democracy and doesn't even think of yielding a chance to his people. But he calls the Kashmir elections a flaw, which are well organized and appreciated by the world community.
Arvind Kats, USA

Let a loyal dictator rule the country and fix the education problem first

Hasan Mir, Mississauga, Canada
Democracy is: "Majority is the authority." In Pakistan 75% population is illiterate. Guess who is the authority in Pakistan under democracy? Pakistan does not fulfil the pre-requisites for democracy. Let a loyal dictator rule the country and fix the education problem first. Only then good leaders would emerge under democratic rule.
Hasan Mir, Mississauga, Canada

I would say that the results of the elections are not acceptable. There was a long delay in the declaration of the results, which could be looked upon as rigging. Secondly, I think that the emergence of the Islamic extremists in Pakistan is a threat to the world. They are anti-US thus against the freedom of the world. In order to secure the future of Pakistan the government of Pakistan should plan for the re-elections.
Khurram Shirwany, Virginia, USA

Just because a country has an election doesn't make it a democracy. Rule by corrupt people who cannot be checked is anarchy. Rule by an extreme religious sect is theocracy. Neither are democracy and an enlightened military dictatorship is preferable to either.
Mark, USA

Why does Pakistan need a democracy? What is so brilliant about democracy? What Pakistan needs is a government that represents the people be he a dictator or a prime minister. Under Musharaff Pakistan has done better than under any previous "democratic" regime. Although he is a puppet of the US but you can't have it all your way in a world run by the US.
Amin Ibrar, Bradford,UK

I have listened to the arguments, mostly by Americans, calling Pakistan a fundamental backward country. At least we Pakistanis are not planning every day how to kill many people in the name of a war on terrorism and saving the American democratic peoples. Is this the outcome of democracy that kills innocent people without proof for its global occupation plans and keeps its eyes closed to the fundamentalism going on in India and the actions of the Israelis? If this is the case then we don't need democracy. Shame on you America.
M.Yahya, Katachi, Pakistan

In two provinces the religious parties are dominant. Is the West going to ask General Musharraf to declare the elections null and void? Do we see the making of crisis as in Algeria or do we have the moral courage to accept.
Khalid Rahim, Toronto, Canada

How can such a deliberately skewed-up arrangement be considered a solution to the military dictatorship in Pakistan when even before the so-called elections the military junta had decreed that General Musharraf can dismiss the prime minister and parliament when he so desires? Didn't the late General Abacha try such "democratic solution" for Nigeria and the West rebuffed him?

Methinks that whenever Western interest is well protected, then a dictator becomes a democrat even in military fatigues. But history always has a way of catching up with these born-again "democrats". The "impressive performance" of the radical Islamic parties is a warning of the obvious political bumpy road ahead of Pakistan.
O. Emmanuel, Lagos, Nigeria

At least there were elections in both Pakistan and Kashmir. It does not matter if the elections were fair or fixed, at least voices of some of the people were heard.
Yogi, USA

The number of seats gained by the Muslim fundamentalist parties indicates why a firm ruler like Musharraf is needed until these extremists are tamed. Look at what Hindu fundamentalists got away with under the democratic government of Modi in Gujarat.
Mohammed Khaled, Wellington, New Zealand

Pakistan's problem is its genesis. A country based on religious chauvinism cannot really have true democracy. Pakistan's contradiction will never end, unless it becomes a truly equal for all its citizens. It doesn't need to rejoin India, just turn itself from an Islamic republic to a republic where there is no officially sanctioned discrimination on the basis of religion.
Raghu, Chennai, India

Democracy is the key of establishment in any country but this should be a real democracy. The Election 2002 held in Pakistan is not the way to democracy. Pervez Musharraf wants to remain in power. I would like to state clearly and confidently that all the decisions made for Pakistan's future are purely done by the USA and now the elections results shows the same. We Pakistanis reject the election and are not happy with this step of Musharraf. We pray for Pakistan to stay alive and peaceful and independent from external forces.
Murshid Jee Khokhar, Karachi, Pakistan

How can people even think of supporting a military regime

Bilal Rana, London, UK
It bewilders me how can people even think of supporting a military regime. They should remember the past military regimes led to the amputation of east Pakistan. Both 1965 and 1971 wars took place during military regimes. It was mostly during military regimes that India and Pakistan stood on brink of war. The economy always suffered more during the military regimes than in civil ones. On the overall analysis, Pakistan as a state has been better off under democratic rule.
Bilal Rana, London, UK

Unfortunately the events of "9/11" have so distorted the international situation (with significant global uncertainty and instability), that the elections in Pakistan are of limited, if any consequence or significance. All the participants (above and below) continue this debate oblivious to this reality!
Dr Nadir Hasan, New Zealand

Pakistan needs real democracy but unfortunately again a military ruler is in power. The election was not fair and can't help in the development for real democracy. Musharraf got the results he wanted. Now he can rule easily with the method of divide and rule - America will also back him. There is no need for the national security council because the people's representatives should be independent in taking all decisions - this is real democracy.
Q Butt, Islamabad, Pakistan

Party position in the national assembly and in the provinces shows that only one thing can help the elected assembly to complete its term - cooperation among all parties. If party leaders still think that it is their basic right to sit in power then nothing can be achieved. At this moment a controlled democracy is the right solution because lot of old corrupt people are still in the new parliament.
Muhammad Faheem Minhas, Toronto, Canada

Deep down, Musharaff knows he must secularize and democratize, but it's a tall order. He has done as good a job as could be expected under very difficult circumstances. The country must secularize their government or else their nation is doomed to be on the fringe in the world community. History has proven secular governments to be the most successful.
Chris K, USA

That's what's needed for Pakistan right now

Imran, Houston, USA
Instead of all the bickering between the different political leaders, if they could just put their differences aside and actually work towards stabilising the country, that's all that I could hope for. One honest person, someone who is not trying to go after his own self-interest but actually work toward things that are best for the country, that's what's needed for Pakistan right now.
Imran, Houston, USA

The political vacuum that was created in the last three years is presenting us today with an emergence of native fundamental values that in other times were kept at bay and creatively absorbed by the national mainstream political parties. It seems that a presidential form of government is the only choice left in order to save the state. Let the games begin.
Dr Khawar Mehdi, Karachi, Pakistan

General Musharraf tried to reintroduce democracy to placate the West but Pakistan may have to pay a very heavy price for this folly. The hung-parliament will give another opportunity for discredited politicians to indulge in their favourite pastime of political intrigue and infighting. Also, this unnecessary election has given an unwelcome boost to the religious fundamentalists. The politicians and fundamentalists are going to usher in a new period of instability and chaos in the country.
Mushtaq Hussain, London, UK

I hope that the Western countries are happy now that Pakistan has gone to the polls and given the religious parties a majority in Government. It is them that forced and pressured General Musharraf to hold elections in the country. If only they had backed him and his current government to sort out Pakistan's internal problems and get rid of religious extremists without holding elections.
Rash, London, UK

Hopefully it serves as a lesson to President Bush and Prime Minister Blair

K. Zubair, Canada
Yes. The right man won and it could not have been awarded at a better time. Hopefully it serves as a lesson to President Bush and Prime Minister Blair while they still have time to change their approach towards the problems with Iraq and avoid a war.
K. Zubair, Canada

Democracy in Pakistan cannot work unless the basic institutions are improved, particularly the education area. The main reason why democracy could not establish its roots in Pakistan was the presence of a strong feudal system which is quite intact even now. Until or unless, this feudal system is totally eliminated, I don't think real democracy can exist in Pakistan.
Gohar Ayub, Lahore, Pakistan

These results are proof that the extremist element is still there in Pakistan army. This is known by whole world except Musharraf.
Imran Shah, Jand (Attock)

Our main problem is poverty and illiteracy

Hasan Tarique, Toronto, Canada
The real Pakistan exists in the thousands of villages, not in the cities where a fraction of the population lives. Democracy has its roots in the opinion of the people, and the people in Pakistan's villages don't have an opinion, they are too poor to have an opinion. Their main concern is to put food on their table and the local landlord's opinion is the opinion of those poor souls. Our main problem is poverty and illiteracy. Until we solve these two problems, democracy can never work in Pakistan.
Hasan Tarique, Toronto, Canada

This is democracy by the army, of the army for the army. A hung parliament and divided verdict suits no one but the army.
Naeem Hassan, Lahore, Pakistan

Democracy? What is democracy? The only thing Pakistan needs is an educated, honest, and sincere leader. Personally I do not care whether that person is elected or he is a general.
Adnan Khan, Houston, USA

I don't see how democracy can work in Pakistan

Bilal Abbasi, New York, NY
Democracy is not indigenous to South Asia, it's an idea introduced by Western civilisation. Even from Western standards, it is an expensive system. Unless you have a constituency that is sensible enough to hold the elected officials to their promises, I don't see how democracy can work in Pakistan. We need either an honest dictator or a monarchy where the constituency does not have the right to shoot itself in the foot.
Bilal Abbasi, New York, NY

There is no need for elections in Pakistan. The present government is excellent but conducting elections due to international pressure.
Raza, Karachi, Pakistan

Democracy? What democracy? With the president saying himself that he WILL stay for three years, what democracy is there - even with these sham elections? With only 27 people being able to vote today in the station I went to, I am sure the winners will emerge to be the pets of Musharraf and America.
Salima, Karachi, Pakistan

Musharraf and his reforms have been a breath of fresh air

Moazzam Saleem, Pakistan
Musharraf and his reforms have been a breath of fresh air for Pakistan. For the past three decades I have seen my country rot away on the whim of so-called politicians. Musharraf must remain in place to provide stability to the country and keep a check on the corrupt political figures.
Moazzam Saleem, Islamabad, Pakistan

Of course democracy is the best way of rule for Pakistan. It is wrong that without the participation of the military in rule there cannot be a good governance. Actually, the real cause of democracy's failure is the military. It likes to give an impression that politicians are corrupt, but the question is: Who will keep in the generals in control?
Aijaz Zardari, Karachi, Pakistan

What Pakistan needs most is peace to develop

Kamil Mian, Pakistan
What Pakistan needs most is peace to develop and prosperity for the masses. Whether there is democracy or a military government, it is only of consequence when the population is prosperous. Any kind of government should ensure the wellbeing of Pakistanis before it confronts the generals. This is imperative.
Kamil Mian, Karachi, Pakistan

It is very apparent from all the postings here that many (if not most) Pakistanis have some serious doubts in their mind about the benefits, underlying philosophy and mode of implementation of democracy. So, it will be decades before we see any recognisable form of democracy taking root in Pakistan. You don't get equality, justice and the freedom to choose unless your heart cries for it.
D. Sinha, USA

President Musharraf's recipe of democracy evidently has much support. (Amazingly mostly from Pakistani expats in the Western world). Their arguments rest on the realities of the widespread illiteracy of the populace and the corruption of past "democratically" elected leaders.

While people may be illiterate, they are certainly not ignorant. It is a fallacy that they are incapable of recognizing the imperatives that will accelerate their own wellbeing. Corruption cannot be solved by introducing the military into the equations of power play. A free media, true democratic and judicial institutions address the issue of corruption.

It maybe true that President Musharraf has the toughest job in the world. Yet it is a fact that it is a job he has sought for himself and he has changed every rule in the book to suit himself. History will judge him harshly if he fails to deliver to his people the true fruits of democracy.
Samarth, India

I do believe that democracy is an ultimate solution for any prosperous society. However, democracy does not work at a time when majority of people are illiterate and they are exploited in the name of religion and race. As a Pakistani, I have witnessed this exploitation throughout my life. I personally do think that Pakistan does need a moderate dictator like Musharraf to crack down Islamic fanaticism. However, I am also worried about the abuse of extreme powers he has achieved.
Farhan Khan, New York, USA

Benevolent dictatorships do not work

Takura Zhangazha, Zimbabwe
Democracy is still the best form of government. Benevolent dictatorships do not work. They only serve to bring about extreme conflict after the deposing or passing on of a dictator. There must be international confidence in the ability of the people to govern themselves. Musharraf is obviously bent on using performance legitimacy to increase his political mileage. That is akin to coming in through the back door to the office of President of Pakistan. The business of waiting and seeing what happens with a benevolent dictatorship is what is hurting Zimbabwe at present.
Takura Zhangazha, Harare, Zimbabwe

Musharraf has done more for the country than Bhutto and Sharif ever did. His reforms will benefit Pakistan greatly in the future and therefore there will be hurdles to overcome in the short term. Should this require democracy to be "altered" then so be it. A western influenced democracy will not help Pakistan. It needs to be a democracy which will enable all groups to flourish.
Kashif , Sydney, Australia

What we are really scared of is change in our lives. What really matters is how to overcome our fear to recognise the power of our vote. In Pakistan people haven't realized their power of the vote, though the generals didn't miss the opportunity. Will these opportunistic generals last?
Muhammad Fahim, Karachi, Pakistan

Pakistan needs to construct its own style and form of democracy

Hindowa Momoh, Sierra Leone
The concept of democracy as preached by Western countries is surreal. Pakistan needs to construct its own style and form of democracy that may be present in its traditional indigenous system uncontaminated by colonialism, post-independence power structure and the current global hegemony.
Hindowa Momoh, Sierra Leone

After Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Musharraf has been the best thing that has ever happened to Pakistan. He is trying his best to weed out Islamic fanaticism that had gripped the country into ethnic violence. Let's not forget before Musharraf took over, Pakistan was thought of as a terrorist state by many. He has silenced all those who were pointing fingers towards Pakistan. He is the best reformist the country will see for a long time to come.
Ali Aga, Chicago, USA

Pakistan will never become a democratic country as long as Musharraf is in power because he has to save his skin. And as for his much touted anti-corruption campaign against the past regime, giving away important positions and assignments to key military leaders irrespective of whether they are qualified is also corruption.
Shaleen, Pakistan

This country was born out of a democratic process

Navid, Faisaabad, Pakistan
This country was born out of a democratic process which was led by politicians. The military has only one role and that is to defend the country.
Navid, Faisaabad, Pakistan

Western style democracy is inapplicable to the Pakistan of today. Democracy implies informed choice. In a country with a literacy rate of 20% and a feudal system of agriculture there is neither choice nor information. A graded transition to democracy is more realistic and sustainable... exactly what Musharraf is doing.
Nabil Wasif, NYC, USA

We need to identify our institutions with the Middle East and Western Asia where our roots belong

Maroof Shah, Saudi Arabia
Democracy is a Western concept. It is inconsistent with our cultural tradition. If it is to take root it will require fundamental changes in our society some of them not necessarily for the good. We do not need a lesson from India on this, Pakistanis are a separate people from Indians with our own values, culture, language, and way of life. We need to identify our institutions with the Middle East and Western Asia where our roots belong.
Maroof Shah, Saudi Arabia

We have seen democracy. We have seen dictatorship. Unfortunately leaders like Benezir and Nawaz have muddied the water. While the involvement of the army in civilian politics can never be a good thing, it hasn't been any worse. Indeed, if anything it's been slightly better. So maybe we need a different kind of governance, which guarantees greater transparency and accountability for all, be it civilian or the military.
Haseeb, Pakistan

I think Musharraf has done well so far. He has to keep his masters in the US and the madrassahs happy. He really has a tough job.
Arjun, India

Most of us are quick on the trigger to condemn the military government and the current military ruler. Being a Pakistani, I know that quite a few of us favour the current government and the reforms it is putting in place. The question we really need to ask is of the previous so- called democratic governments. What good have they done for the welfare of majority of the people?
Jawad R, Pakistani in Canada

Pakistan needs a democratic system tailored for its own peculiar needs

Arif Malik, USA
Illiteracy and democracy can't go hand in hand. More than 70% of Pakistan's population is uneducated. This influences the voting pattern and Pakistan has elected governments in the past ten years that were incompetent, undemocratic and thoroughly corrupt. Pakistan needs a democratic system tailored for its own peculiar needs. It cannot just copy the Western model. The elections this week may seem controversial to many, but I think these will be a good exercise to weed out the corrupt and incompetent politicians of the past, once and for all.
Arif Malik, USA

Democracy is an empty noun. It refers only to a regime by which people are fooled into believing their opinion matters.
Albert, Russia

It is weird but fascinating to see so many Pakistanis living in the USA claiming that democracy is no good for Pakistan. I am sure most of them made it to the USA not only because of their hard work but more importantly because there is freedom here to transform that hard work into something tangible. Would these same people go back to Pakistan and vote for a dictator?
Narendra Nathmal, Boston, USA

Democracy is always a good path for any country to follow. It builds self-esteem in the nation, it preserves minority rights and provides a channel for them to express themselves. If not, we will end up with what Pakistan is currently: a place for religious fundamentalists.
Rudy, USA

Democratically elected leaders become puppets in the hands of the superpowers

Maz Qureshi, Lahore
Adopting another sham democracy just because the west thinks it is meant to work better is not the way out. I think the democratically elected leaders become puppets in the hands of the superpowers and hinder the advancement of Pakistan as a nation. In the 55 year history, it is the military leaders that have been truly 'stable' - with the exception of Zia-ul-Haq. What we need today is stability with methods which keep Pakistan stable, not those that have worked for the States or Great Britain.
Maz Qureshi, Lahore, Pakistan

President General Pervez Musharraf, in my opinion, is doing his best for Pakistan under the circumstances. I totally agree when he says that he has the most difficult job in the world. He is the best leader that we have had in the past two decades, and we all hope and pray that Pakistan will recover in the long run!
Farid Qureshi, Singapore

Democracy was never given a proper chance in Pakistan. It is sad that army was never behind the elected leaders and the other way too. There cannot and should not be a replacement to democracy. The government is for the people, of the people and most importantly by the people.
Karthik M, USA

Mere elections cannot restore democracy in Pakistan. For democracy to flourish, one needs strong democratic institutions like an impartial and vibrant judicial system; an electoral process that is not only transparent but is also autonomous; a multi party political system; devolution of powers at the central and state level even to the grassroots level. Does Pakistan have such institutions in place? Unfortunately the answer is an emphatic no. Will it have such institutions in place in future? Only Mr. Musharraf can answer the question.
Sanjay Jalali, Singapore

A democracy is not formed overnight

Mark Schofield, France
We must not forget that a democracy is not formed overnight. The democratic model of Western Europe was perfected over centuries. If Musharraf can begin the reforms to encourage democracy and empower his people, rather than pursuing power for his own ends, history will judge him kindly.
Mark Schofield, France

Military dictatorship is preferable to the kind of Democratic dictatorship that we have seen from civilian governments so far. We have less human rights violations and more freedom of the press now than we did during so-called democracy.
Sanam Taseer, Pakistan

Democracy in its ideal form has never worked in Pakistan where the ruling elites have always hankered after the absolute power which in return made them absolutely corrupt. I think whichever government comes into power, it must work under a system of check and balance. For that, the National Security Council appears to be the only viable platform.
Hamid Raza Wattoo, Islamabad, Pakistan

Democracy is indeed needed but not the kind we had. What we need is what works, the previous so-called democratic governments certainly did not work. We need to avoid them at any cost even if it means a semi-democratic system. I think National Security Council is a good solution.
Omar Khan, Pakistan

There will be good leaders and corrupt ones

Shyam, USA
It is not a good idea to shun democracy because of the fear of corruption by political leaders. Like in any other nation, there will be good leaders and corrupt ones. If democracy settles down and gets roots into society, good leaders will definitely emerge.
Shyam, USA

Pakistan was liberated from British rule due to the election of 1945 and the main purpose of it was to implement Islamic rule in Pakistan. We forgot our basic aim and we started electing corrupt leaders and involving armed forces in running the Government.
Shakil Ansari, Canada

Democracy is inconsistent with the concept of an Islamic republic which Pakistan calls itself. The country needs a system of governance based on Islamic laws like the Caliphate. Let's hope that Musharraf succeeds in building one.
Taufik, USA

What is needed in Pakistan is a gradual restoration of democratic principles

Atif Rafique, USA
It is easy to mock Musharraf and his plans for democracy. What is needed in Pakistan is a gradual restoration of democratic principles that will elicit a culture of democracy in the country's psyche.
Atif Rafique, USA

As most of the Pakistani politicians are very short-sighted and have very little concern about the country, I think General Musharraf should stay as President of Pakistan and be a watchdog on politicians until his proposed reforms are completely installed and a strong system of check and balances is developed. If this hurts democracy than let it be because the past so-called democratic governments were worse than the current military rule. I strongly believe that his reforms will bring true democracy to Pakistan gradually.
Syed Iftikhar Ali, USA

What is the point of having elections? Can't you people understand that the previous leaders were actually "democratically elected." Look what they have done. I think Musharraf should stay in just as president, and there shouldn't be a prime minister
Faizan Khan, USA

There has never been democracy in Pakistan. Even during "democracy" there had always been a dictatorship under the veil.
Rizwan Ahmad, USA

If the politicians return, corruption will return

V. Gill, UK
Everything Musharraf has done has been to protect his job and his life. A side-effect of this has been that Pakistan has seen some stability. But if the politicians return, corruption will return because as long as politicians don't upset Musharraf, he will let them do whatever they want.
V. Gill, UK

I would like to see democracy by actions not by words. I mean freedom to say and freedom to listen.
Haroon Khokhar, UK

Democracy is a good thing but what good it is to anyone if you have to choose between equally corrupt and illiterate politicians? Pakistan cannot afford to give another chance to these individuals.
Mohsin Masood, Canada

This is Pakistan. Democracy or military dictatorship - all the leaders are corrupt. It is like a choice between the devil and the deep sea. In most nations, people choose leaders with the question "Who will be the best for us?" In Pakistan the question the people ask is, "Who is the least likely to mess up the nation?"
Jvalant Sampat, Princeton, NJ, USA

Pakistan will continue its downward spiral for as long as the generals are in charge

Nausherwan Lahori, Lahore, Pakistan
Pakistan will continue its downward spiral for as long as the generals are in charge, directly or behind the scenes. If Pakistan is to progress, it has to get rid of the mafia called the Pakistani army.
Nausherwan Lahori, Lahore, Pakistan

I think democracy is the very much needed for our country and it is also the demand of the world. It gives us more stability in social reforms. And it will be very much needed for bilateral relations with our neighbours.
Nazim Akhtar, Sialkot, Pakistan

Pakistan needs a system like that of India. Ceremonial president, elected parliament and ministers, independent judiciary and no intervention from the military. But then India's corrupt democracy isn't any better.
Ghyas Alam, Sydney, Australia

At the present time democracy may allow the Pakistani people to elect an extremist government that may chose not to support the US. On the other hand if Musharraf continues his dictatorship the US will continue to send money to Pakistan.
H K Gadhia, Denmark

It never worked before and it will not work now

Boks, Hong Kong
It never worked before and it will not work now. The politicians in Pakistan are too corrupt to rule the country. Let us go back in history and study the real reasons why Pakistan came to being. And if that cannot be achieved then we're better off removing the border. In this way, perhaps, the conflict that pops up every now and then can be avoided, not to mention hundreds of lives saved.
Boks, Hong Kong

Having a military presence on the street has by all means brought some 'calm' and 'security' to Pakistan, but like his peers and predecessors before him, Musharraf still has to prove to the people that his intentions and route to economic and Habitual reform, will be definite. Like many other people, I too am sceptical regarding his softly softly approach, where his nature and persona is the opposite - a military one, it may seem that the economic reform is a somewhat mirror of doctrines established elsewhere, places possibly where his new found friends are - America, UK?
Rashad Hussain, UK

Democracy is made a mockery of by the politicians in Pakistan. They have been making a mockery of every civilian institution for the past decade. A military check on these civilian dictators and autocrats is definitely welcome.
Syed Irfan, Karachi, Pakistan

What is the use of a half-baked democracy in which the parliament can be dissolved at any time by military rulers? The democratically elected government will be under constant threat from military rulers and will not be able to perform satisfactorily. Democracy in Pakistan will not succeed unless military rulers are kept aside by the international community.
Shrinivas, India

Yes! Democracy is the need of the hour. The National Security Council if it performs well, could provide a good measure of checks and balances on the newly elected government.
Zafar Quraishi, Pakistan

South Asia Debate
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Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat




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12 Oct 02 | South Asia
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