NEWS & OPINION: Who is indispensable?

Watch your back

In 1999, after mounting a coup, General Pervez Musharraf spoke to the nation late at night. One of the reasons he attributed for the necessity of the coup was Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif disturbing the integrity of the Pakistan army by summarily replacing Musharraf with another general. That telling observation indicated the army’s perception of its role in Pakistan.

The integrity of the army was more important than the integrity of the country, and for that an elected government had to be removed. This perception has guided the Pakistan army through the country’s independent history. The past and future of Musharraf is better understood through the conviction of the Pakistan army’s image of itself.

The question being asked now is if, when and in what manner Musharraf would leave office. But the real question is: How would the Pakistan army respond to the possibility of Musharraf either continuing in or leaving the political scene? [complete article]

Setback for Musharraf from an old opponent

President Pervez Musharraf released more than 3,000 political detainees and named a day for elections today, but his attempt to quell the turmoil in Pakistan received a double setback.

His attempts – officially denied – to hold a private meeting today with the former Pakistan prime minister and political leader Nawaz Sharif, during a flying visit to Saudi Arabia, were rebuffed when Mr Sharif announced publicly that he had no intention of meeting General Musharraf.

Such a snub would represent a significant shift in the fortunes of the men, just two months after Mr Sharif was humiliatingly arrested and deported from Pakistan. [complete article]

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