Imran Khan: President Musharraf must resign
By Isambard Wilkinson in Islamabad
Last Updated: 12:24pm BST 31/07/2007
Imram Khan: President Musharraf must resign
Khan believes that Gen Pervez Musharraf is ‘sunk in a crisis of his own making’
Imran Khan, the former Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician, called on President Pervez Musharraf to resign yesterday.
"It is all over for him. He is sunk," Mr Khan told The Daily Telegraph. "He has lost touch with Pakistan. It is a crisis of his own making and the accumulative effect of his miscalculations."
Years of internal discord over the country's support for the US-led war on terror came to a head earlier this month with a commando assault on Islamabad's radical Red Mosque. Since then a series of suicide bombs by Muslim extremists has claimed the lives of more than 200 people.
Mr Khan said: "The longer Musharraf stays after this, the longer the backlash of extremism will last. The majority of Pakistanis, secular minded or not, view Musharraf as an American puppet." Read the rest.
Oh well, that settles it. "American Puppets must die! First Tony Blair, now Pervez Musharraf. John Howard (Australia) must renounce his ties to Amerika."
I understand that Musharraf is a dictator but it's not as if he's the only one in the Muslim world. Is it coincidental to hear more calls for democratic elections as Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise? I don't think so. We've read that the Muslim Brotherhood has been working on this very strategy for years. We question whether their idea of Democracy is "One man, one vote, one time" and believe that their sudden embrace of democracy is a pretext for the establishment of an Islamic state.
Yes, Pervez Musharraf is a military dictator. But seldom has the world seen one so benevolent. Musharraf has ruled Pakistan with a relatively light hand and all parties, religious and secular have been given a wide degree of latitude under his reign. Imram Kahn says that Musharraf faces a fundamentalist backlash for being an American puppet. We say this is backwards thinking, and the backlash has come against the rising fundamentalism. They say "The fundamentalism is against American policies in the Muslim world." They wish to confuse which came first, the chicken or the egg. If we engage in this game, we can go way back in history. Farther even than the Barbary pirates and the Halls of Tripoli. We can go back to the beginning of the problem when marauding hordes began driving Christians and Jews from the middle east and Turkey. But there's no need to play those games. The fundamentalists really don't give a damn about them but if that's all it takes to convince you, it's in their bag of propaganda ploys.
Imram Kahn like much of the world, seems to dislike George Bush and America. The Bush administration is at an extreme low tide of public opinion. Anti-Americanism is near historic highs and it is very easy to take advantage of the situation. Anyone who is or was a friend or associate of George Bush is an easy target. Rumsfeld, Bolton, Wolfowitz, Gonzales, Blair, Musharraf. Why do you think Gordon Brown comes into office publically putting distance between himself and America?
I remember years back when Pakistan had a worldwide marketing campaign to establish itself as a banking hub of the world. Radio and magazine advertisements declared that Pakistan was a modern country and open to banking and commerce. I think that was in the Benazir Bhutto years or it may have been after she fled the country. It turned out, that this PR campaign was in fact, an attempt to put lipstick on a pig. Remember the International Bank of Commerce and Credit?
Pakistan has struggled to modernity (look, they developed the bomb) and like America, is a divided country right now. There are many secular Muslims in Pakistan; modern people who like salacious television and American bluejeans. People who go to the mall. City people, mainly, who "just try to be good" and are frightened of Islamists and suicide bombers. On the other hand, there are many "good upstanding religious people" who send their children to the "religious schools" for a thorough education in the "fundamentals " of the Religion of Peace.
The Muslim world is at the cross roads. It can move ahead in an ugly world made smaller and infinitely more complicated by globalization and secularization or it can recoil into fundamentalism. If Pakistan is not careful, they may long for the good 'ol days of Musharraf and people like Imram Kahn may regret their ill considered words.
Pakistan is one of those bell weather countries from which we may be able to determine how severe this clash of civilizations will be. We will keep a sharp eye on Pakistan, looking for a break in the weather and hoping that it doesn't get worse.