Beware of Musharraf: Post tells Bush
Bush is more credulous than most Pakistanis if he thinks that Musharraf believes in democracy, a column says.india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 18:57 IST
The Washington Post has called President General Pervez Musharraf an "unreliable General" and has advised President Bush to cosy up with him.
"If President Bush thinks that Musharraf believes in democracy, then he is a lot more credulous than most Pakistanis," a column in the newspaper read.
"It is time for the US to stop banking on this unreliable person and start planning for the democratic government that should succeed him," it said, adding that Pakistanis had "long ago stopped believing the public pledges of a leader who had more than once broken them".
Bush arrived in India on Wednesday on a three-day visit. He will later fly to Pakistan. He had made a surprise stopover in Afghanistan before flying into New Delhi.
The Post noted how Musharraf has been promising to restore democracy since 1999. "Yet, he has sought to suppress Pakistan's secular democratic parties throughout his years in power while striking deals with Muslim extremists."
The editorial contended, "Despite Musharraf's many promises, Pakistan remains a deeply unstable country where the threat of Islamic extremism is great and growing."
Apart from retaining his military title and reneging on his promise to give it up, the Post noted that there were rumblings in Pakistan that Musharraf may prolong his tenure indefinitely by yet again postponing the promised 2007 elections and getting himself "re-elected" by the Parliament.
Last week, in a speech at the Asia Society, Bush acknowledged that "Pakistan still has a distance to travel on the road to democracy", and that "both US and Pakistan want the elections scheduled for next year to be successful."
The paper urged Bush to "underline that message" during his stay in Islamabad.
Before taking off for India, Bush had also stepped up his praise for the "free" press in Pakistan.
In the interview, Musharraf also lashed out at Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, who suggested that Pakistan was not vigilant enough in fighting terrorists.
Obviously miffed by Karzai's remarks, Musharraf said, "He should put his own house in order."