Patterico's Pontifications


President Bush “forces” Musharraf to hold January Elections

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 9:08 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Times of India reports that President George W. Bush forced Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf to back down from earlier statements delaying January’s democratic elections:

“US President George Bush on Monday turned the heat on his “tight” buddy Pervez Musharraf to force the Pakistani dictator to back down from his confrontation with the country’s civil society and restore the modicum of democracy he had allowed.

The political pressure, backed by a financial heft that saw the feeble Pakistani economy shudder at the first sign of American muscle, appeared to yield some immediate results. Musharraf signaled through his factotums that he would stick to January election timetable, but he left the uniform issue unaddressed.

Bush stepped into the picture more than 48 hours after the turbulent events began to unfold in Pakistan, using a White House photo-op with the visiting Turkish prime minister to address the issue that’s leapt to the front and center of US foreign policy concerns.

He told reporters, who were alarted [sic] hours ahead that he would speak on Pakistan, that he “expected Musharraf to hold elections as soon as possible and also remove his military uniform.”

Accompanying President Bush’s public entreaties, representatives were busily working the back channels to make the consequences clear if Musharraf refused:

“While the US President was making these remarks, various administration spokespersons fanned out to warn Musharraf about the consequences of his actions, especially on the economic and military stability of Pakistan, which survives largely on US dole.

A State Department spokesman disclosed that Pakistan had received nearly $11 billion in US aid since 9/11 and said an inter-agency and inter-departmental assessment was underway to examine possible aid cuts in keeping with US legislative obligations.
Such financial pressure appeared sufficient to spook the military strongman presiding over a dodgy $120 billion economy heavily dependent on foreign aid. The morning had already seen the Karachi stock market plunge by 5 per cent, its biggest fall in 17 years.

By late afternoon US time, while Musharraf wasn’t exactly on his knees, there were some signs of a roll back. Musharraf’s mouthpiece Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, who had said the previous day that elections could be deferred for as long as a year, reversed course and said they would be held as scheduled.”

Sounds like the old carrot and stick routine. Sometimes the old ways work. I hope they do this time but I doubt President Bush will get credit for supporting democracy.

Update: This report claims Musharraf will end emergency rule in 2-3 weeks.


5 Responses to “President Bush “forces” Musharraf to hold January Elections”

  1. Unfortunately this seems to be one of those situations where the two options are bad and worse. While we wait for the usual bloviating to begin, John Derbyshire has an interesting post on NRO’s The Corner.

    JVW (951b34)

  2. That was an interesting post, JVW. Thanks.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  3. The reality is that Musharaf seems to be reaching the end point of Pakistani ‘men on horseback'; * years for Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Zia ul Haq and Zulfikar Bhutto; the last two met prematurelt untimely deaths

    narciso (d671ab)

  4. The US, Pakistan, and China
    Americocentrism dies hard.

    blah (fb88b3)

  5. Funny that a paper in India would be “Americocentric”

    Steverino (e00589)

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