Pakistan 's Moment of Truth: Sharif and Bhutto Must Say No the January Elections
- Iran Peace Project -
EDITORIAL December 3, 2007
When Benazir, leader of the
Pakistan Peoples Party and Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) meet
on December 3, their decision to participate in or boycott the January 8 parliamentary
elections will impact the future of Pakistan for decades to come.
It is a strange
irony that Bhutto and Sharif, two former prime ministers that both failed to
put Pakistan on a clear path to progress can now save Pakistan by denying themselves
what they covet most-political power for themselves and their parties.
For the greater good of Pakistan they must boycott Musharraf's January 8 elections
and dispel illusions of the grandeur of a false democracy. Bhutto and Sharif
must shoulder the responsibility of true leadership by uniting the majority
of opposition parties to demand the return of the legitimate Supreme Court and
new elections in the early spring.
If Bhutto, Sharif, the opposition parties
and the Pakistani people have learned anything from the nation's failed
experiments with democracy in the 1990's, it is that civil society must lead
the military. Pervez Musharraf by virtue of his actions cannot be trusted. Nor
will Pakistan 's salvation be realized by entering a Faustian bargain with the
United States, Russia or China who all seek to subvert Pakistan 's independence
for their own geo-strategic interests.
Today, Pakistan is a nuclear failed state
held together by a brutal and declining military dictatorship. Complicated by
competing loyalties within its military and intelligence agencies to extremist
forces, and torn by tension between its volatile Baloch, Kashmir and Pashtun
communities, Pakistan has somehow managed to stumble to the doorstep of democracy.
But the only way for Pakistan to emerge from this unique moment of challenge
is for opposition party leaders to reject the crumbs of false democracy from
Pakistan's advancement requires a resolute and
unified demand for true empowerment of the Pakistani majority. As difficult
as it may be for opposition forces to find unity in the din of
national turmoil, an unprecedented opportunity now exists for Pakistan to create
its own special democratic enterprise.
The ability of Musharraf and the military
to maintain their despotic rule rest on two pillars; naked force and a divided
opposition. History has proved that even the most barbaric regimes cannot maintain
power once the people decide they are no longer willing to endure oppression.
Musharraf has all but exhausted the limits of naked brutality with emergency
rule and the bloody suppression of pro-democracy forces. On the other hand,
the opposition has the power to overcome its divisions and thus avoid furnishing
the means of its own political destruction.
It is doubtful
that Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif will rise to the historic moment at
hand. Their past history of selfish power grabbing at the expense
of the Pakistanti people does not inspire confidence that Pakistan will move
beyond the limitations of the past. Therefore, all opposition parties and leaders
committed to boycotting the January elections must do everything possible to
pressure Bhutto and Sharif not to capitulate to Musharraf and the military.
The Musharraf regime is weak and deteriorating in Pakistan and in the eyes
of the international community. The hour of truth has arrived in Pakistan.
We trust that the Pakistani people will seize the moment, preferably with the
support of Bhutto and Sharif, but without them if necessary.
Webster Brooks 111 is the Editor of the US-Iran Peace Project's website: www.usiranpeace.com His
articles have been published in newspapers, websites and blogs across the Middle
East and in the United States. US.-Iran Peace advocates the restoration
of full diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran .