Feb 12, 2008
Washington Post Editorial asks for Fair election.
A Crisis Foretold
Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf impedes fair elections and action against al-Qaeda. So why is he 'indispensable'?
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
IN THE past few days, warnings about two critical threats from Pakistan have been sounded repeatedly in Washington. First, al-Qaeda is rapidly growing stronger in the de facto sanctuary it enjoys in Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas, and is close to acquiring the capability to launch new attacks on the United States. Second, reputable polls show that Pakistanis will vote overwhelmingly against President Pervez Musharraf in parliamentary elections Monday -- but the government plans to rig the balloting to prevent that outcome, at the risk of triggering massive protests and violence.
Yet the Bush administration continues to publicly insist that Mr. Musharraf is "indispensable" to Pakistan -- a stubborn and illogical position that is serving only to heighten the twin dangers.
Similarly, appeals by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for Mr. Musharraf to permit fair elections have been ineffective. The former general has neither released the judges he imprisoned last fall nor removed controls that prevent media from fully reporting on the elections.
Perhaps Mr. Musharraf will reverse himself, limit manipulation of the balloting and accept defeat. Yet by its own account, the Bush administration is unprepared to cope with the imminent danger of destabilization in a country that holds nuclear weapons as well as terrorist training camps. That will remain the case as long as it insists on allegiance to Mr. Musharraf as the starting point of its policy. Read more