Thursday, November 22, 2007

'Fair elections not possible till Mush stays in power'

The Times of India, 22 Nov 2007

WASHINGTON: Warning that another rigged election would add "even more salt to Pakistan's open wounds", a prominent US expert has said political trends lines in the country are likely to grow worse the longer President Pervez Musharraf remains in any position of leadership.

"The longer Musharraf wears either of his two hats, the longer it will take for Pakistan to hold sufficiently credible elections upon which a semblance of political normalcy can resume," Michael Krepon, the Co-Founder of The Stimson Center, says.

In the article titled, "Pakistan With or Without Musharraf", he says the longer Musharraf stays, the greater the difficulties Washington can expect on all three fronts-- counter-terrorism, control of the country's nuclear assets, and in handling bilateral ties.

Krepon also argues that the corporate interests of the Pakistan Army with respect to the above three fronts "are unlikely to change appreciably if or when Musharraf goes".

Pakistan's domestic politics have become so abnormal that modest remedies now seem insufficient while near-term solutions, including the goal of free and fair national elections in January, appear improbable, he says.
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