An editorial published on the New York Times website about Pakistan – [link]
Pakistans president, Pervez Musharraf, insists his outrageous power grabs are aimed at stabilizing and protecting his country. His authoritarian maneuvers only weaken the countrys already feeble political institutions and fuel more political turmoil.
Turmoil is not what anyone needs in a country that is both armed with nuclear weapons and supposedly helping lead the fight against Al Qaeda. On Friday, dozens of people were killed in a bombing, apparently aimed at one of Mr. Musharrafs political allies.
Mr. Musharrafs decision to end six weeks of martial law was long overdue, as was his decision last month to finally quit his army post and take the presidential oath of office as a civilian. Any hope that he was nudging the country toward a genuine democracy was quashed when he also moved to exempt his own most controversial actions from any court challenges. That means his highly questionable election to a new five-year term will stand, as will his dismissal of 13 Supreme Court judges and more than 40 High Court judges.
Mr. Musharraf seized power in a 1999 coup, so his rule lacks legitimacy no matter how he manipulates the countrys legal underpinnings. But instead of trying to strengthen Pakistans institutions, he is continuing to undermine them for his own power and profit. Meanwhile, Pakistans citizens leave no doubt that theyre sick of the former general. A poll this month by the Washington-based International Republican Institute (affiliated with the Republican Party) found that 67 percent of Pakistanis want Mr. Musharraf to resign immediately.