Pakistan Remakes Its Political Landscape
Musharraf's Party Concedes Defeat
By Pamela Constable
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, February 20, 2008; A01
LAHORE, Pakistan, Feb. 19 -- A new political era dawned in Pakistan on Tuesday as partial results from Monday's parliamentary elections showed the opposition scoring a landslide win, the party allied with President Pervez Musharraf conceded defeat, and secular candidates ousted religious parties in the volatile northwest.
. . . "General Musharraf represents the rule of man over law, and the resounding verdict of the people is that they yearn to be ruled by laws, not men," Ahsan said.
The fallout from Monday's elections could have a major impact on relations between Pakistan and the United States, which has strongly backed Musharraf as a partner in counterterrorism efforts, despite growing frustration over his failure to stop Islamic extremists creating havens in Pakistan and fueling the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.
We can add Pervez Musharraf to the leaders of Britain, Spain, Germany, Italy, Australia and a host of lesser nations whose leaders have gone down the tubes by supporting an illegal Iraq War. By the time Bush slinks out of the Oval Office, the going away party will be sparsely attended.
Away from International affairs, his own closest advisors and co-conspirators in Washington have been fleeing the scene, crowding down the ratlines to the privacy of "time with the family" or "business opportunities elsewhere," all code for getting the hell off a sinking ship with what's left of their reputations.
It's always interesting to watch an American president step over the lines of judgment and legality, to be finally (and usually belatedly) punished by the electorate. What has made this president a standout among the wrongheaded, has been the unanimous opinion of the world at large that Bush has done nothing right--absolutely nothing.
His closest supporters at home have run from office or been sent packing in disgrace, while leaders across the world poke at his support with the longest stick possible, hoping to avoid the stench and, to a very large degree, failing.
Britain, Spain, Germany, Italy and Australia are hardly lesser nations of the free world. They are its very linchpins. And yet, the only place this president seems untouchable is within the newly changed and Democratic-controlled Congress of the United States. Everywhere else, including the overwhelming opinion of his fellow citizens, Mr. Bush faces repudiation.
Which fact augers not at all well for the coming Democrat landslide and its following wind of business as usual.