ATP Poll Results: The Benazir-Musharraf Deal

Posted on April 27, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Poll, Politics
39 Comments
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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. Aqil Sajjad says:

    “I voted for Benazir twice in the past. But never will again.”

    Der aaid darrust aaid. :)

  2. Kamran says:

    I voted for Benazir twice in the past. But never will again. Thsi deal is end of both Musharraf and Benazir. Both sell all principles by this deal.

    Kamran Agha
    Rawalpindi

  3. Correction
    Quote from the above text,” And, the Chaudhries of Gujrat are pretty lack luster and not quite incompetent,” please change the word incompetent to competent, meaning that the Chaudhries are actually incompetent!

  4. And, if the PPP does not achieve a clear majority in the next elections it should be prepared to either coalesce with some other party to form a government or sit in the opposition with sincerity and not repeat the past mistake of not accepting majority rule as it did after the 1970 elections. As far as leadership from the PPP is concerned, Benazir can become prime minister if the PPP attains a majority, with or without a coalition. But she must first face the courts courageously and prove to the nation that she is really innocent and a victim of political maneuvering. But given her past performance it might be best that she calls the shots from behind as does Ms Gandhi in India and provide a chance for alternative leadership to develop as no party or nation should be solely dependent on any one person for no one is for ever, among other reasons. And, among alternative candidates for the premiership, by far the best choice is of Makhdoom Amin Faheem and none else and he should be allowed quite a free hand and hopefully he would become a very useful political asset for the party as well as for the country, particularly as he is from Sindh and would therefore help assuage the feelings of the smaller provinces and as such assist in the reintegration of the politics of Pakistan.
    However, if the PPP does not achieve a majority in the next National Assembly and some other party or coalition of parties does that then the PPP should honestly adhere to positive politics and cooperate with the next government. And, as far as other possible prime ministerial candidates of other political parties stand, Javed Hashmi, and Raja Zafar ul Haq of the PML (N), Syed Munawwar Hassan of Jamaat e Islami, Fazlur Rahman of the JUI cannot be ignored. Shuakat Aziz of PML (Q) was good material but he has tainted himself for hanging around the dictator for too long! He can still take out a leaf from the history of the politics of Pakistan and learn from the tactics of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who took full advantage of the economic troubles that Pakistan faced after the 1965 war with India and the fissiparous tendencies that were brewing fast in the post-war period in East Pakistan and cried foul against his mentor, Ayub Khan, citing how Pakistan had capitulated to India by signing the Tashkent Agreement. He still has some time to salvage his political position by resigning from the government citing Musharraf’s treatment of the Chief Justice, among other issues. If he does so, maybe he would have a better chance as a future leader of the PML (Q) but he probably does not have the daring that Bhutto had and not quite enough of charisma but he can try! As for Mushahid Hussein he has spoiled his credentials for being a big turncoat and a cheap opportunist and the same goes for Shaikh Rashid (not in the first place worthy of the post, anyway!) And, the Chaudhries of Gujrat are pretty lack luster and not quite incompetent, not to mention their opportunism and I am left wondering as to who from such a big group as the PML (Q), which we don’t want to discount, can emerge as a genuine leader? And, to assuage the feelings of the Balochis we would have to give some visible role to Mir Zafarullah Jamali.
    So all in all the PPP and Musharraf should play the game political competition with fairness, openness and better still Musharraf should resign and leave some form of alternative administration, which I might discuss in my next post, if I still have some energy left!

  5. Aqil Sajjad says:

    Wasiq:

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

    Come on yar. Elections won’t resolve this debate because the whole controversy about rural perspectives has to do with whether the people in rural areas are truely empowered and politically aware to make choices or whether they vote for PPP etc because they are manipulated. Unless rural areas get adequate media coverage and unless we directly hear the voices of the people from these places (not just the self-serving claims of the elites that get elected), election results aren’t going to be accepted by everyone as a credible indicator.

    As for the deals, your comments are actually justifications of the deals from a PPP perspective and not denials that those deals took place. I am not getting into whether those deals were good for the country; just pointing out that these deals did occur.

    Your last paragraph:
    “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.”

    The “arrangement that might pave the way for democratic politics” can also be reached with BB not trying to become PM for a third time and letting the process continue with other people like Makhdoom Fahim, Aitazaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani, Sherry Rehman etc lead the country with BB taking up a role similar to Sohnia Gandhi’s. That would also take the wind out of the sinics who see the “arrangement” as nothing but a rotten deal only aimed at making BB PM again.

    If this is really about restoration of democracy and not BBcracy , then she can easily demonstrate that transparently by being willing to withdraw her candidature for PM in return for Musharraf taking off his uniform. Her demands in the negotiations should focus on the political process and not her own self. She should also allow genuine intra-party democracy, deal or no deal. People should not be blamed for being suspicious of her intentions, it is up to her to demonstrate her bonafides through something concrete.

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