Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Talking Point: Debates: South Asian
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Listen now
... to both sides of the debate
 real 28k

Thursday, 12 October, 2000, 15:17 GMT
Has Musharraf been good news for Pakistan?

It is a year since General Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan. How much difference has it made to the people of Pakistan?

South Asia
Has the new government been able to tackle corruption, revive the economy and restore law and order?

Has Pakistan's international standing changed?

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

Your reaction

I believe the General is doing a great job

Sajjad, Pakistan/ USA
I believe the General is doing a great job, he has put the country back on the track of becoming a developed country. The actions he has taken will have a positive long term effective on Pakistan and its people. He has also showed that Pakistan is not afraid of any external dangers. He is far better than those corrupt politicians who have ruled and ruined the country for the past 53 years that include both Pakistan Muslim League and Pakistan People's Party. I believe he should rule the country for another 15 - 20 years, simply because the Pakistan't politicians have failed to deliver what they promised.
Sajjad, Pakistan/ USA

It is the military generals who have ruled Pakistan for the majority of years since its independence. Why do General Musharaf and his supporters blame democratic politicians for being corrupt and putting the country in chaos. All these year whether Military generals or the politicians,
Michael Earnest, USA

I think military rulers are never good for the any country. No matter what people say the people of Pakistan will face the problem in years to come. I know for a fact that continuous military rule will wipe out the middle class and create huge gap between the ordinary person and people at the top. I have lived in African countries ruled by the military and seen the result.
Vimal, Canada

Unfortunately, democracy does not work for every society. We must accept that Pakistan is one of these societies
Christopher Cagle, Dallas, Texas, USA

He's been good news and bad news. Good for the people of Pakistan and bad for the rest of the world. The best news is still to come when we see results and eventually a new democracy enriched with people from the literate world, each professional in his/ her own field. I believe he's on the right track to bring peace and stability to the country. Managing deteriorating conditions is no easy task; at least he's accepting the many weaknesses of the country and then moving forward to correct them. The same results can definitely be achieved through democratically appointed PM's but we haven't seen any so far. People need to see results and not fake promises and I think he's keeping his promises. Best wishes!
Salman, Canada

It seems many Pakistanis do not understand the long-term implications of a military government

Pranav, India
It seems many Pakistanis do not understand the long-term implications of a military government. Corrupt politicians can be dethroned by the power of the vote, but overpowering a corrupt military general takes much more than that. These repeated coups in Pakistan, that perceivably have a popular backing, virtually imply the armed forces and not the people of Pakistan have been the real powerhouses all these 50 years.
Pranav, India

Instead of spending resources on the country's problems, the Pakistani Government is spending more on the military and the arms race. It's the same problem with India too. Politicians and military generals are trying to take advantage of this and make their own profits.
Murali, USA

Pakistan is in dire straits. It is now virtually bankrupt and needs stronger leaders, ones that can use their heads. Musharraf has promised a lot, but delivered little. He has helped Pakistan become more isolated from the international community. The failure of Musharraf to tackle the country's acute financial crisis and his inability to improve the corruption problem has made him a man of words. India on the other hand, has been achieving so much. If Pakistanis don't do something to have a more efficient government, the nation will collapse.
Karthik Dinakar, Bangalore, India

I am surprised when people who have never step foot in Pakistan become a total authority on the country

Sohaib Ansari, Pakistan
I am surprised when people who have never step foot in Pakistan become a total authority on the country. We in Pakistan know what it's like to live in a country with a military government. Most of us love this government because we can now see light at the end of the tunnel.
Sohaib Ansari, Pakistan

I think it is a bit naive to have expected that General Musharraf could have brought any monumental change in one year to a country that had been pushed steadily towards anarchy for 53 years. What the General and his team have done is to put the right mechanisms in place, something which no Government in the past had either the guts or the imagination to do.This should be a source of great hope to all educated and thinking Pakistanis. Nawaz Sharif forfeited his claim to be a democratic leader when, with his knowledge and connivance, a bunch of his party henchman attacked the Supreme Court of Pakistan and its judges.
Dr Tariq Khan, UAE

I think it was wrong for the General to take over the country. He may have good intentions and plans. However, he like everyone else should go through the electoral process. He must remember that, he who gains power through violence will lose it sooner or later.
Adrian Zahid, UK

Military government is better for Pakistan, regardless of what the world says.
Parvez Sharif, UK

What difference does it make to the common man anyway? If the military government fails, the country collapses; if it succeeds, the generals get to keep looting for some more years, and then the country collapses. Nothing will really change until military spending is cut significantly. Anything short of that only makes the machinery of loot and oppression more efficient.
Nadeem Jamali, USA

So much damage has been done that it's not possible to revive the economy in a year

Faisal Khan, UK
The people of Pakistan are hopeful that Musharraf will take them out of economic turmoil after 10 years of failed and corrupt democracy. So much damage has been done that it's not possible to revive the economy in a year, although major reforms have been introduced in the IT sector and the tax base has been broadened. The international community has not alienated Pakistan because of its geographical importance and above all the West does not want nuclear proliferation. The bottom line is that people want a stable, strong economy and prosperous Pakistan no matter whether it's democracy or martial law. We want peace with India and no war at any cost.
Faisal Khan, UK

To figure out if conditions in Pakistan have improved or deteriorated since the army imposed dictatorship, one has to look at few basic things:

1) Has the economic situation improved?
2) Has unemployment gone down?
3) Has law and order improved?
4) Is the country growing with rest of the world?

The answers to all the above questions is unfortunately NO. And there's no hope of returning to democracy either!
A Concerned Friend, USA

Probably his unconstitutional take-over helped reduce political and economic chaos a bit, but it has also inflicted heavy wounds in the institutional system of Pakistan that will surface as soon as he is out of power.
Monirul Q. Mirza, Bangladesh/ Canada

One year on, Pakistan is deeper in debt, subject to deteriorating foreign relations with all countries and the economy is smaller. Pakistanis have fewer human rights, women are abused and "honour" killed more frequently. Drug abuse is up, suicides are up and even basic goods are not in the shops and markets. The justice system has been corrupted and the army has infiltrated every section of society. Those that can afford to are leaving Pakistan in droves. Not exactly a resounding success, but then again who expected any different?
Peter, Brit in the USA

I live in Canada and visited Pakistan after a gap of about one and a half years. I have found life over there much easier and free of tension after the military coup. Before that, there was an air of uncertainty and fear. On the face of it, the military government seems to have achieved what many political governments had not - the return of thus far elusive law and order. But military take-over is not a panacea for every ill our country faces. In fact it creates a political vacuum which extremist parties - religious and linguistic take full advantage of. So when the political process returns to the country for the umpteenth time, these parties may hold sway stronger than ever. Nevertheless, the average Pakistani is justified in asking what democracy has given him either.
Sohaib Talal, Pakistan/ Canada

There are no easy solutions for the problems Pakistan is facing

Prasad Shetty, India
I think General Pervez Musharraf has failed on all fronts. Although his intentions are sincere, he is learning the hard way that there are no easy solutions for the problems Pakistan is facing. By killing democracy and pushing the country towards international isolation, he has caused immense harm to Pakistan in the long run. It is wrong to blame the politicians for all the mess as it is the army that has been ruling for most of the time either directly of indirectly.
Prasad Shetty, India

Yes, changes are evident. Pakistan is more isolated in the world community and the poor get poorer.
Narinder Dogra, USA

He has set Pakistan back by 20 years
Azam, USA

As long as the General and his fellow countrymen are preoccupied with India, there will be no progress made in Pakistan. The General should focus his efforts on improving conditions within Pakistan instead of meddling in Kashmir.
Pushpa Rajguru, USA

Unfortunately we still need the army to rule in Pakistan

Mohammad Alam, USA
We have to bring in democracy in order for the International Community to change its viewpoint about Pakistan, and frankly speaking the country is not ready for that. Unfortunately we still need the army to rule in Pakistan, so they can punish corrupt leaders.
Mohammad Alam, USA

In the past year no relief has been given to the business community, let alone the common man. Foreign Investors' confidence has been shattered by the Government of Pakistan. Even local investors are making exit strategies. The rupee depreciation is a clear indicator of the Government's failure to attract or even restore investors' confidence.
Javed Miandad, Pakistan

The army government is far better and far more responsible than the political bandits who have plundered Pakistan. At least a sincere attempt is being made to right the wrongs done over the past ten years.
Saad Ainuddin, USA

Under Nawaz Sharif and earlier under Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan was moving towards disaster with its unity threatened. Both Sharif and Bhutto used the country to enrich themselves and exploited divisions in Pakistani society to further their hold on power. Even though Musharraf was criticised for coming to power through a coup, he and the army had no choice. This may be Pakistan's last chance to put its house in order.
Richard Taxila, USA

If you know a country such as Pakistan well, then you can very comfortably come to the conclusion that it will take years of dedication to overcome the stagnation that has persisted for so long. The source of corruption is deep within the structures of Pakistan, and rooting it out is not a project for one year or even two.
Maryam Kamal, USA

The West in its criticisms of Pakistan, must realise that the common man only wants to have a secure life, a good job and prosperity. If the "democratic" politician failed in that respect, than the only other actor on stage is the military. I have been back to visit Pakistan off and on since the coup and the people at least have a sense of peace in the cities now, compared to the times of Benazir and Nawaz Sharif, when one could barely feel safe after sunset!
Syed Nabeel Hasan, Canada

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

01 Sep 00 | South Asia
Pakistan generals reshuffled
31 Jul 00 | South Asia
Pakistan after the coup: Special report
23 Mar 00 | South Asia
Analysis: Musharraf's record in power
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other South Asian stories