Musharraf could be a bridge to democracy, says Jugnu Mohsin
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: If General Pervez Pervez Musharraf succeeds in his declared intention of rolling back political Islam and normalising relations with India, he could prove to be a “bridge to democracy,” according to Jugnu Mohsin, managing editor of The Friday Times.
She said Gen Musharraf was “learning on the job” and had taken some “bold decisions” which she hoped would be irreversible. “I feel positive about them,” she added,
Ms Mohsin, on a brief visit here, was speaking on Friday evening to the Washington Policy Analysis Group that had arranged an Iftar reception to welcome her.
She said she did not wish to “quibble about electoral democracy” because democracy was much more than just holding elections. She said there was “some movement on the ground” in the desired direction.
However, she stressed, there was no protection available any longer to ordinary citizens as their rights were violated with impunity by state agencies and powerful interests. In this context, she referred to the murder in Sheikhupura of Rai Javed Kalyar. Those responsible continued to remain free because of their powerful connections.
Ms Mohsin, in answer to a question about Gen Musharraf’s recent Kashmir proposals, said, “What he said has been backroom talk in Pakistan for a long time. Musharraf has merely spoken out in public in order to open up the debate on Kashmir. While there is a consensus on basic issues, including Kashmir, in India, in Pakistan there is no national consensus on any issue. And democracy is all about consensus.” She said there was a need to develop a consensus on Kashmir as on other vital national issues.
She said the Pakistan Army was now a class unto itself. It had also realised that its corporate interests lay in not alienating the whole world. Its previous husbandry of jihad, Kashmir and the Taliban was now seen as having worked against its interests.
The army was at the same time not letting civilian leaders call the shots. When Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif had tried to move close to India, the army had moved against them.
She said if peace with India, including a compromise on Kashmir, came to be accomplished at the hands of the Pakistan Army, it would remain in place. That would not be so if the same thing was to be attempted by a civilian leader.