ATP Poll Results: The Benazir-Musharraf Deal

Posted on April 27, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Poll, Politics
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Adil Najam

Benazir Bhutto says that it is now time to take the ‘risk’ of going back to Pakistan. Gen. Musharraf says that he expects to be elected for another term as President. Pundits seem sure that a deal is not only on the cards but is done. Some do wonder if it is merely another detraction tactic by the military government, but others argue that it may be a step – even if a tiny one – towards democracy.

But while most have been caught in the ‘Deal or No Deal’ question, we at ATP asked our readers whether such a deal – if made – would be good for Pakistan or not. As many as 654 of our readers spoke. And quite unambiguously.

In response to our question – “What would a benazir-Musharraf Deal Mean for Pakistan?” – as many of 84% (547 votes) of respondents say that it would either make no difference (‘Same old stuff’; 41%, 268 votes) or would actually make things worse (43%, 279 votes). Only 16% (16%, 107 votes) believe that such a deal would actually makes things better.

The result is surprising in how stark, clear and unambiguous it is. This is unusual for ATP Polls which have usually tend to show a divided viewpoint. The one exception had been the Poll on Chief Justice issue. Most other Polls – on ‘Grading General Musharraf‘, on ‘Who did the Most Good for Pakistan‘, on ‘What Gen. Musharraf Should Do about his Uniform‘ – had yielded rather divided views.

So, what is going on here? Why this sudden unanimity amongst our readers who tend not to be in such agreement on most issues?

Could it be just a high level of cynicism? Or is it that our readers tend to be more urban and come from cohorts that have tended not to be major BB supporters? Or – as some have said – those who come here are from a so-called ‘drawing room’ class? Or is it that our readers have a better sense of the pulse of the nation that political pundits do?

39 responses to “ATP Poll Results: The Benazir-Musharraf Deal”

  1. No deal for political expediency is welcome! It is time that people come out and fight for a truly representative government. Benazir, Nawaz have proven to be corrupt and incompetent! Musharraf has corrupted the constitution to legitimize his usurpation and continues shamelessly to hang on to power without true legitimacy! Altaf is a known killer of people and is responsible for many a target killings! Zardari is corrupt to the core. And, he and Benazir bear responsibility for the murder of Murtaza Bhutto! So no one should try to fool the people of Pakistan as enough is enough!
    Why cannot we try other leaders like Makhdoom Amin Faheem or any others? Any so called “democratic politics,” that restores corrupt politicians is actually corrupt politics. And, if we can only have that sort of political drama to fool the people of Pakistan, Pakistan would be served better by another dictator but no matter what, Musharraf should not be allowed to continue as we have had enough of him and we might have better luck with the next General. Remember some dictators are better than the others and sometimes an Army general might become an honest broker for bringing in a democratic government, such as, Mirza Aslam Baig whose elections under GIK facilitated elections and brought in the first BB government which nevertheless spoiled its chances by incompetence and corruption! So no reason to try the tried the third time and no reason why the autocratic rule of the despot must continue!

  2. Wasiq says:

    Read The Times interview again.

    BB was asked what she would do if Musharraf was President and she was Prime Minister. She said that a working relationship between Musharraf and her would be necessary, in that case.

    Re: Aqil Sajjad’s assertion about rural perspectives. I say, let us wait for the election.

    Re: Remarks about GIK deal, read your own post again. A deal means to give up something in return for something.

    With GIK, BB got a reasonably fair election (in 1988). PPP did not win enough seats to elect its own president (Nawaz Sharif formed the Punjab govt, Akbar Bugti won in Balochistan. PPP had slim majorities in the National Assembly and NWFP and a clear majority in Sindh. The Senate from Zia;s time was still in place so GIK had a slim majority in the electoral college any way). BB’s choices were to oppose GIK in the presidential election and then deal with a president the PPP voted against or reach for a working relationship.

    As it tutned out, GIK ousted BB in 1990 any way.

    In 1993, BB needed to prove that the cases against Asif Zardari were politically motivated. So when GIK booted out Nawaz Sharif, she agreed to nominate minister in the Mazari caretaker cabinet. By making Zardari a minister, sworn in by GIK, she proved the point that GIK’s cases against him were political. GIK had to eat humble pie without BB giving anything up.

    When GIK got into trouble with the Supreme Court and a restored Nawaz Sharif government, BB did nothing to save him. Had there been a deal, she would have been duty-bound to stand with him.

    If a similar thing is afoot again, I don’t think that is a bad idea.

    Only two kind of people do not support an arrangement that might pave the way for democratic politics, however weak. One, those who do not recognize the realities of the political world and are only armchair politicians, or Two, those who (in the name of a perfect system) want to pave the way for another, stronger military intervention like the one that followed Ayub Khan in the form of Yahya Khan.

  3. Deal or no deal, why is Benazir prepared to accept the usurper as president again? That is encouraging dictatorship and future usurpers of power and Benazir is doing that just to get to share power and get the cases against her and her husband wiped out! Why should the people of Pakistan be made to suffer again? We have had enough of incompetent and corrupt politicians. This time the nation should try Makhdoom Amin Faheem or some other leader but cases against Benazir and Zardari and Altaf must first be decided fairly and squarely justly and expeditiously and Musharraf should not use those for political bargaining!

  4. Aqil Sajjad says:

    Wasiq ref post 10:
    “Just as BB was alleged to have done a deal with Ghulam Ishaq Khan but never did, this time too the Bhutto-haters are letting loose their anger and emotion.”

    If there was no deal, then what in the world was Zardari doing in the care taker cabinet after NS was dismissed by GIK?

    As for 1988, why was GIK elected as president and why did the military’s man continue as foreign minister instead of a PPP person?

  5. Actually, what is required is free and fair elections but that is too much to expect given past experience. No elections were as close to being fair as the 1970 elections but then the PPP who signed the Legal Framework Order and participated in the elections on that basis did not attend the National Assembly session called in March 1971, which eventually led to the break up of Pakistan, as per the movement “yahan hum and wahan tum,â€

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