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Home / International News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 27, 2007
US should support democracy in Pak, not Musharraf: LA Times
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US should support democracy in Pak, not Musharraf: LA Times

The United States must give up its backing of the increasingly errant autocrat President General Pervez Musharraf and make clear that it supports democracy in Pakistan, the LA Times has said in an editorial.

Lahore, May 27 : The United States must give up its backing of the "increasingly errant autocrat" President General Pervez Musharraf and make clear that it supports democracy in Pakistan, the LA Times has said in an editorial.

The paper said US policy towards its allies in the 'war on terror' resembled its support for anti-communist dictators during the Cold War, which a terrible mistake.

Unfortunately the US hasn't seemed to have learned anything from the mistake, as it is again slipping back to its bifurcated Cold War mentality, the paper said.

"This was a terrible mistake for which the US, and the world, paid dearly. Yet the United States seems to be slipping back into just this sort of blind and bifurcated Cold War mentality. Worst of all is its policy toward Pakistan, where the administration refuses to distance the US from the increasingly errant autocrat Pervez Musharraf," the paper said.

The editorial said that nearly eight years into his presidency, Gen Musharraf "is no more of a democrat than he was when he ousted the democratically elected Nawaz Sharif government in a bloodless coup in 1999".

"He has since manipulated elections, circumvented the constitution to allow himself to maintain the dual posts of president and army chief of staff and struck unholy alliances with hard-line Islamists in Parliament while assuring his US backers that he was cracking down on them," the editorial said.

"He has collected eight billion to 10 billion dollars in direct US aid for the war on terror (and perhaps almost as much in covert aid) while losing ground to the Taliban in the tribal areas that are nominally under Islamabad's control.

"Terrified that Musharraf might be assassinated or overthrown by a fundamentalist Islamic regime that would inherit a nuclear arsenal, Washington has given the general the benefit of every doubt," it added.

"Gen Musharraf had now "sacked" the Supreme Court chief justice who appeared hostile to his scheme to rig himself a third term as president and generalissimo. Even for Pakistan's nascent civil society, this was the last straw. This month, lawyers, rights activists and ordinary citizens demonstrated in the streets against Musharraf. Their demand? The rule of law. Yet the US has been virtually mute," the Daily Times quoted the paper as saying.

As such, the US should now show its long-term commitment to the people of Pakistan and make it clear that it "will support whatever democratically chosen leader emerges in Pakistan", the editorial said.

"As long as Musharraf resists the discipline of democracy, the United States must not pretend to give him unqualified support. The US must take an abiding interest in promoting peace, human dignity and economic development in the region," the editorial added.

ANI

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