Thursday, February 21, 2008

Don't sack Musharraf, US and UK warn election victors

Aitzaz Ahsan, leader of the lawyers' movement, says the sacked Supreme Court judges must be reinstated © AP

By Andrew Buncombe in Islamabad and Omar Waraich in Lahore

The Independent, Feb. 21, 2008

The US and Britain are pressing Pervez Musharraf’s victorious opponents to drop their demands that he resign as president and that the country’s independent judiciary be restored before forming a government.

In a strategy some Western diplomats admit could badly backfire, the Bush administration has made clear it wishes to continue to support Mr Musharraf even after Monday’s election in which the Pakistani public delivered a resounding rejection of his policies. “[The US] does not want some people pushed out because it would lead to instability. In this case that means Musharraf,” said one Western diplomat.

Officials say the policy is driven by concern about possible instability in the aftermath of the election in which the president’s parliamentary allies were soundly beaten. In such circumstances US and its Western allies are urging the election’s winners - the late Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N)- to quickly move forward and form a coalition that includes all “moderate” elements.

Continued . . .

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