Thursday, March 6, 2008

Pakistan: Moving Past Musharraf

I am a student of American politics, and do not nearly enough attention to what's happening outside of the US. However, for someone reason I am fascinated by Pakistani politics. Maybe its because of the strategic implications for the US, maybe because its just really, really interesting. I don't know, but seldom does a day go by that I skip over the Time's Pakistan story.

That said, I was very excited to read about a panel discussion this week at GW on Pakistan. Unfortunately I did not attend the event, though I wish I had.

One thing that surprised me was the President of Pakistani Student Association comment to The Hatchet on how students living in the US feel about Musharraf. She said,
Pakistani students who attend GW are usually not anti-Musharraf. I think most
people in Pakistan at the moment are so immersed in the situation that they
direct their anger toward Musharraf, so back home there are more people against
him than overseas.
So immersed in the situation? If by immersed she means martial law, house arrest, assassination, and sham elections? Yeah, I can understand why people may feel a little anger towards Musharraf. If those things happened here, I suspect you'd would see a little bit more than "mild anger". Oh wait...

Pakistan recently had Parliamentary Elections. The party of former Prime Minister Sharif and the party of deceased former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto came in first and second respectively, and are now working to form a government. The big question is whether or not (A) they will move to impeach Musharraf or (B) whether or not Musharraf will stay in a government where his power is marginal. Sharif has vowed not to move to impeach Musharraf, but many believe that Musharraf would not stay in power without real power.

Pakistan deserves a future of their own choosing. They deserve to have free and fair elections. With Musharraf in power, that will never happens. The US needs to move from a "Musharraf policy" to a "Pakistan policy". The hopes and dreams of millions of Pakistanis should out weigh the ego and political interests of one many.

1 comment:

sriar said...

As someone who has lived half of her life in both capitals (Washington D.C., and Islamabad) I tend to see within my social circle that Pakistani citizens currently living abroad tend to see Musharraf as man who has the country in his best interests as opposed to citizens currently residing in the country who HAVE been immersed in the "martial law, house arrest, assassination, and sham elections," and tend to see him as a power hungry dictator. Rain check, martial law, house arrest, assassinations and sham elections have been going on for the past few decades. I have been raised in Pakistan, with my parents and family currently back home, and have a general knowledge of what both the youth abroad and at home think. I feel this is the closest we have come to free and fair elections and to a tiny step towards democracy.

I would also like to say that the panel was not meant to be an anti-Musharraf panel, we tried to keep it neutral, I wouldn't say that the three speakers were necessarily "bashing' Musharraf. As for NJGUY85 he should definitely come to future PSA events and voice his so passionate opinion.

Sassi Riar
GWU PSA President