Michael Krepon April 19, 2007
Michael, Your column is posted below for our readers.
It is incredible that you and I expounded on similar ideas. Mr. Abdul Kundi, a member of Dallas Pakistanis group wrote an excellent piece about the need for institutions in Pakistan which he posted at DallasPakistanis@yahoogroups.com and as a moderator I wrote a commentary which is incredibly similar to yours. I wrote that on April 2, 2007. Kundi's article has published in Peshawar News and is on the website. http://www.democracyinPakistan.com. My comments were and Kundi's article was also posted at: http://mikeghouse.blogspot.com/search/label/Pakistan.
President Musharraf gave a lot of hope to the people of Pakistan when he took over, but that hope is getting decimated every day. He is not setting up institutions that would bring stability and consistency in governance.
These have to be developed and I do not see the signs of initiation either. They are developed with Ijtihad and consensus, neither of the ideas have seen the foundation laid to it. He can leave a great legacy for Pakistan, if he sets out now. Like all rulers in history, he is beginning to believe that he is immortal and that is betrayal to the future of Pakistan. All the things he has done are great and must be appreciated, but to complete the full circle of goodness, he needs to let the democratic institutions flourish, to his credit he had let the freedom of press survive, but happened with the Dawn was not good, neither the cracking down of the Internet. The two most important of pillars of democracy are; press, judiciary and now Internet.
Pakistan needs a strong leader, an unselfish one who is not hungering for power, but simply there to set up a system and establish institutions. There are many, it is time for them to step up.
I am please to invite more ideas, more thoughts on the idea of creating institutions. I would hope that the news papers, television and cable would expound on this idea. Once you have a good foundation, the occupants and the building will survive
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From: Michael Krepon firstname.lastname@example.org
What Legacy Will Musharraf Leave?
by Michael Krepon and Alex Stolar
April 19, 2007
The longer most leaders stay in power, the more their record is likely
to become tarnished. But it is extremely hard to walk away from power
when it is possible to stay longer, especially for generals who become
president. George Washington joined the pantheon of historic leaders
not just for his performance on the battlefield and his sound judgment
in office, but because he chose not to become president for life. By
stepping down voluntarily, Washington laid the basis for a political
system of checks and balances that has proven to be an essential
safeguard against the abuse of power in the United States.
Great leaders have amazing willpower, but willpower can not substitute
for honest self-appraisal and humility, which help leaders recognize
what course of action is truly in the best interest of their country.
General Pervez Musharraf has been in charge of Pakistan for eight
years--a longer period than any other leader except for Zia ul-Haq and
Ayub Khan. He has accomplished much during this time. Indeed, he may
well turn out to be a pivotal leader in the history of Pakistan. But
this depends heavily on what course of action Musharraf chooses in the
future. His choices are to maintain power by whatever means necessary,
to share power, or to relinquish power.
Pervez Musharraf is a man of supreme confidence who has accomplished
much. He has articulated a vision for Pakistan as a tolerant, moderate,
progressive state--the same vision as Pakistan's founding father,
Muhammed Ali Jinnah. If he can achieve progress toward this vision, he
will receive the grateful thanks of his nation. He has done more than
any other leader in Pakistan's history to normalize relations with
India--a precondition for a normal, economically vibrant Pakistan. He
has reversed disastrous national policies toward Kashmir, and in doing
so, has improved prospects for domestic tranquility, economic growth,
increased trade and foreign direct investment. Musharraf can be
justifiably proud of his stewardship of Pakistan's economy.
Musharraf has also shifted Pakistan's policies toward Afghanistan and
the Taliban, but this shift is still very much a work in progress. If
the border with Afghanistan can be secured and if Pakistan can improve
bilateral ties--two big "ifs" that could take many years or decades to
achieve--then Pakistan's national security will be greatly enhanced, and
trading routes to Central Asia will help Pakistan achieve domestic
tranquility and economic growth.
Yes, General Musharraf has made mistakes along the way. Which national
leader hasn't? But he has also demonstrated an ability to learn from his
mistakes, to adapt, and to grow.
Domestic problems tend to accumulate for leaders who linger. Pakistan
now faces much domestic unrest. This unrest is not due to poor economic
policies or unhappiness with President Musharraf's shift toward Kashmir
and India. Instead, much of the unrest relates to the circumstances of
the President's extended rule, and the expectation that another
irregular extension of his rule is in the offing. Most Pakistanis and
historians are unlikely to judge Musharraf kindly if he resorts to the
usual methods by which Pakistan's military leaders extend their stay in
The essence of representative government and checks against abuse of
power are an independent judiciary, an independent media, and political
parties that chose their own leaders and that are held accountable by
the electorate for their shortcomings. Pakistan cannot become the
moderate, progressive, enlightened state that Musharraf and the
Qaid-i-Azam have envisioned unless these conditions are met.
Pakistani politics have been much maligned, but it is worth noting that
the two major political parties in the country do not define themselves
primarily in religious terms. The leaders of these parties have been
kept in exile. Barristers and judges are struggling to stop and reverse
the slide away from judicial independence. Despite pressures applied
against them, media outlets are faithfully reporting the news, and
political parties are calling for the free and fair elections that have
been repeatedly promised. It is becoming increasingly apparent that many
people and key institutions in Pakistan share President Musharraf's
vision of a moderate, enlightened, progressive state.
President Musharraf now faces an important choice. If he believes that
he is indispensable, then a familiar script will continue to play out
against the judiciary, the media, and the two main political parties. If
he follows this well-worn path, he will be remembered mostly for these
actions, and not for his earlier, historic accomplishments. Much harm
will be done to the vision of Pakistan that he has championed. And the
longer Pakistan's military runs the country, the more it alienates
itself from the people it has sworn to protect.
Alternatively, President Musharraf can do what no prior military leader
of Pakistan has done: He can help the basic institutions of a
representative government to flourish. In doing so, he can advance the
vision of a moderate, enlightened, progressive state that can be his
most important legacy. The Qaid-i-Azam did not have enough time to lay
these foundations. Musharraf can weaken these foundations by staying too
long. Jinnah was indispensable; no other Pakistani leader has been, or
is likely to be.
President Musharraf faces an immensely important choice. His legacy can
be great, or it can be badly tarnished. Which legacy does he want?
Michael Krepon is co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center and the
editor of Nuclear Risk Reduction in South Asia. Alex Stolar is a
Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow and Research Assistant at the Stimson
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