U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday that a deal lifting a ban on nuclear trade with India would be signed shortly.
“The president will sign the agreement very soon,” she said. The signing had earlier been postponed because of administrative matters.
“Let me be clear, the 123 agreement is done, it’s just a matter of signing that agreement,” Rice said, referring to the name of the deal, which removes a ban on U.S. nuclear trade with India.
At a luncheon, External Affairs Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee praised Rice and U.S. President Bush for their efforts.
The widower of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has won the election to be the country’s next president, Pakistani media reported Saturday.
Asif Ali Zardari, 53, had been the front-runner in the race to replace former President Pervez Musharraf, who was forced to resign last month.
“I feel democracy has been vindicated,” Zardari told CNN. ” I feel we are coming closer to her (Benazir Bhutto’s) mission of total democracy in Pakistan and we shall take the oath of office of President in the name of Shahid Benazir Bhutto and that will be a momentous occasion for all the democratic forces in the world.”
The election was not by public vote, but rather by lawmakers in the two houses of the National Assembly and in the four provincial assemblies around the country. Under Pakistan’s constitution, the president is elected by a majority vote.
Just one question… how has democracy been vindicated when it was “lawmakers” that put this guy in office and not a public vote?
In addition, this guy spent 10 years in prison for fraud and was nicknamed “Mr. 10%” because of all the kickbacks he used to take.
I know that Musharraf was not the most democratic guy ever, but one thing he was not was greedy… IIRC, He owns an old army jeep, 1 house, 1 apartment and 3 vacant lots around Islamabad. That’s all.
Contrast that with some of the other prominent Pakistani families in politics….
I do hope this works out tho. Kinda scary place to have it go all crazy on us.
From the BBC
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, facing impeachment on charges drawn up by the governing coalition, has announced that he is resigning.
He went on national TV to say that while he was confident the charges would not stand, this was not the time for more confrontation.
Probably the smart thing to do, but I am sure there is some subtext to this that involves manipulation of the public… Musharraf is a consummate politician. I suspect he is actually leaving his status up to the people of Pakistan, he is calling for them to voice what they want him to do.
It is a common tactic in Pakistan and was a trick often employed by Benazir Bhutto’s father when he was in office. Be self effacing, martyristic, and make the public love you and ask for a referendum of public opinion.
And then there is this from CNN
“I have not done anything for my personal gain. Whatever I have done, I have done it for Pakistan.”
And to be honest, with all the turbulence of the last 9 years of Musharraf’s reign, he is not a totally corrupt individual. He most certainly not stripped the country of it’s assets or used his position to enrich himself unlike some of his political opponents.
Musharraf’s personal assets consist of a few undeveloped pieces of land around Islamabad, a modest house, a small apartment, and an old army jeep. He has not even used his position to enrich his children. His son, for instance, is a computer programmer in California making a couple hundred grand a year after an extended period of time struggling to move up within the company.
On the other hand, some of his political opponents are multi-billionaires, and have set up their children with business that earn them millions.
The Bhutto family, for instance, has been accused of laundering money, de-frauding the government, taking kickbacks, even trading information on how to make nuclear weapons.
Whatever Musharraf is, greedy certainly isn’t it.
He claims, as BBC reports, that:
An impeachment process would have plunged the country into more uncertainty, he said, and it was no time for “individual bravado”.
Perhaps this is true… and we shall see how things work out in Pakistan. The people seem happy, the lawyers seem happy, and I am sure the judges are happy…. I just hope it lasts.
Basically, this is what’s happening…
Last year, Musharraf’s made a commitment that if his party lost the Parlimentary elections that he would leave office and resign as well.
So, predictably, his party lost the elections, and instead of leaving office he declared a state of emergency. To be fair, there was a bit of turbulence and instability at the time, but it was convenient timing to say the least.
Regardless, the declaration of emergency allowed him to avoid calling for a “vote of confidence” and to continue to hold the office of the Presidency.
The “vote of confidence” is the system by which the government (the prime minister and his/her cabinet) in a parlimentary system is changed.
Well, an extended amount of time has gone by and Musharraf has still refused to request for a “vote of confidence,” so the Parliment is about to bring articles of impeachment against him.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf Sunday faced a countdown to possible impeachment after the coalition government said he had until the end of the weekend to stand down.
The coalition, led by the party of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, also said it had finalised impeachment charges against Musharraf and would lodge them in parliament early next week.
But Musharraf’s spokesman has repeatedly insisted that the former army chief, who seized power in a bloodless military coup in 1999, has no intention of quitting.
Allies have said that he will defend himself against any charges.
Political instability in a country that is not only on the front of “the war on terror” but is also a member of the nuclear club is really, really not good.
Pakistan has some serious issues it needs to address at the moment. They need to deal with sovereignty issues vs the Taliban on the Afghani border, they are having some pretty serious inflationary issues, not to mention the ongoing border disputes with India, and internal religious persecution issues (the Ahmadiyya).
Lets hope this gets resolved quickly and peacefully.