Thursday, 21 February 2008

Pakistanis oust Musharaff

It's been quite a week. Tyrants are falling like dictatorial dominos. First Castro, now Musharraf. What odds Mugabe toppling before the end of the week? It would be nice.

Asif Ali Zardai, a.k.a. Mr Benazir Bhutto, on the restoration of democracy to Pakistan:
Despite massive pre-election and election-day rigging, the people of Pakistan voted their confidence in democracy and rejected the forces of dictatorship. The Pakistan People's Party won a convincing victory, along with the democratic Pakistan Muslim League led by my friend, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The party cobbled together a few years ago by the security services of President Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistan Muslim League-Q Party, often dubbed the King's Party by Pakistanis, was so decimated that their party president and several ministers in Musharraf's government lost their seats in parliament. Monday's election was a clear vote of no-confidence in Musharraf's regime, and a vote of hope for Pakistan's democratic and terror-free future. (1)
It takes courage to vote in acountry where fundamentalist crackpots on one side might immolate you, and where the authorities aren't adverse to ignoring democracy when it gets in their way. Zardai again:

My wife, Benazir Bhutto, came back to Pakistan in October last year to lead this fight for freedom, and she gave her life for democracy. We fought this battle empowered by her spirit and we achieved her goal.

We were terribly troubled by the level of rigging and violence. Indeed, 29 of our party officials and activists were killed, more than 200 were injured and 150 of our polling agents were kidnapped ... (2)

Obviously, the new government - whatever form it takes - is going to face huge challenges. They might even turn out to be worse than Musharaff and his military cronies. But, as idiot/savant pointed out, "while Pakistan’s new elected rulers may be corrupt and incompetent, they are at least elected" (3).

In his inaugural address, Kennedy - martyred like Bhutto - opened his inaugural address of 1961 with words that are perhaps more true of Pakistan in 2008. He said "we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom" (4). Any result in a democratic election is better than a dictatorship, and should be celebrated most where its hold is precarious.
1 - 'Pakistan election dictates a new day' by Asif Ali Zardari, in the Chicago Tribune, 20th of February, 2008. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-oped0220pakistanfeb20,1,5028149.story)
2 - ibid.
3 - 'Musharraf loses,' posted by Idiot/ Savant on No Right Turn, 20th of February, 2008. (http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2008/02/musharraf-loses.html)
4 - 'John F. Kennedy: Inaugural Address,' by John F. Kennedy, 20th of January, 1961. (http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres56.html)

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