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. Ali says:

    I think why need democracy as a power to do the
    accountability of different institutions inside the
    country.A weak system of the world has resulted in the
    dominance of a single government.The American are doing
    accountability of every other nation unilateral.We have
    lost our voices and the common feeling among the masses
    is of demoralisation.

    A sided accountability done by the Pakistan military or
    the mullahs will create conflicts and later civil wars.
    What happened in 1947,1970 are prominent examples of
    power abuse by the congress,pakistan army respectively.
    Time is come that we should move on towards a system.
    Benazir or no Benazir that does not matter.

    What we deserve we should have it.Democracy is theright of
    every pakistani.Those who are afraid of accountability,
    will always like to miscontrue history or present for
    there sake.

  2. Aqil Sajjad says:

    Wasiq:
    “So, Aqil, elections won’t resolve the controversy over what the people believe but bickering on the web by a bunch of doctors, engineers, IT professionals and generally well-to-do Pakistanis mainly from the better neighborhoods of Lahore and Karachi will. Wow! What political insight.”

    Mr. rude and self righteous, did I ever say that elections won’t resolve the controversy but bickering by a bunch of well to do Pakistanis on the internet will? Please go back, read my posts and point out which statement by me means the above?

    What I said was that elections won’t resolve the controversy because it is far from evident that they are credible and that the votes genuinely represent the aspirations of the people and not just a result of manipulation by local feudal elites. It’s like Hosne Mubarik claiming that Egyptians support him because they vote for him when the whole credibility of the electoral process is in serious doubt. So lets directly hear from the people in rural areas through the media and talk about concrete steps to make the elections credible before mentioning election results as evidence of popular opinion.

    You further wrote:
    “Also, it is importnat that BB not hand over the reigns of hte party to anyone else on the demand of the military. She should do it only after proving that the military does not have the right to decide who should or should not be PM.”

    It’s not a question of whetehr the military decides who should lead the party, the issue is whether BB is such an indespensible gem from the heavens that there can be no democracy unless she is above the law. Either BB should be willing to go through the corruption cases, get herself acquited if the cases can’t be proved and then become PM or she should at least be willing to withdraw her candidature as PM and allow other people in the party to assume leadership.

    What needs to be settled is that corruption cases need to be decided in courts rather than GHQ or polling stations. Instead, what BB is trying to establish is that since she has a vote bank, any court cases against her should be dropped.

    “Most people I encounter in the blogosphere know very little about Pakistan’s political history beyond drawing room chatter they have heard. That is why they do not know the pattern of civil-militaryt interaction since the 1950s.”

    Since God bestowed only you with proper understanding of the civil-military equation and Pakistan’s present political situation, the rest of us should shut up I guess. :)

    The pattern of civil military relations (though undeniable) is also a convenient excuse for politicians like BB and NS to divert blame even for their glaring misdeeds. Suhrawardy and Qayyum were not involved in corruption cases; their integrity was not in question, so lets not insult them by mentioning them to defend BB.

    In any case, heavens did not fall when Sohnia Gandhi decided not to become PM even though she had won the elections, so why can’t BB announce that she is willing to withdraw herself in return for Musharraf taking off his uniform?
    After all, your own words in an earlier post were:
    “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. Wasiq says:

    So, Aqil, elections won’t resolve the controversy over what the people believe but bickering on the web by a bunch of doctors, engineers, IT professionals and generally well-to-do Pakistanis mainly from the better neighborhoods of Lahore and Karachi will. Wow! What political insight.

    Also, it is importnat that BB not hand over the reigns of hte party to anyone else on the demand of the military. She should do it only after proving that the military does not have the right to decide who should or should not be PM.

    Most people I encounter in the blogosphere know very little about Pakistan’s political history beyond drawing room chatter they have heard. That is why they do not know the pattern of civil-militaryt interaction since the 1950s.

    The army has always demanded the removal of one leader or another from the top of the existing political parties and until now the parties have obliged. Awami League lost Suhrawardy and the Muslim League removed Qayyum Khan in 1958. Then Yahya wanted AL to remove Mujib, too, in 1971 after he had won a major electoral victory.

    By doing that, the army wants only the army chief to have the right of deciding who can or cannot be the country’s leader. It is important to establish the principle that the army does not have that right. Only the people, as voters in a free and fair election, have that right.

  4. The core commanders should talk to Musharraf about resigning and handing the reins of government to the Chairman, Senate, while they would make sure that in the next six months the cases against all politicians are expeditiously and fairly decided by the courts and thereafter elections held in a fair, equitable, and transparent manner with participation of observers from the US, the Commonwealth, the EU, and the OIC. Subsequently, the next National Assembly form a government of whosoever can prove a majority in the parliament and at the same time the Constitution is restored to its 1973 originality!

  5. Aqil Sajjad says:

    The following article by M B Naqvi is worth reading:
    http://thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=538 53

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