Washington, Feb 21 : A New York Times editorial has said that despite America's huge monetary support and expert advice from an American public relations firm, President Pervez Musharraf "will not overcome a tidal wave of popular contempt".
The editorial with the lead 'Twilight of the Dictators: A Chance for Pakistan - and the US', it noted that in the February 18 elections, even with a "rigged system, the moderates managed to win".
The editorial said the George W Bush Administration could use this opportunity to develop a sensible policy on establishing democracy in Pakistan and winning popular support for combating Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The editorial further said despite Musharraf's refusal to resign, the new Parliament could force him to step out without consulting Washington.
It said President Bush could calm the winning parties of Pakistan to some extent by publicly warning Musharraf that the United States would not tolerate any further political meddling.
"The Bush Administration must also encourage Pakistan's coup-prone military to work with the new parliamentary leaders, making clear that continued military aid will in part be conditioned on their respect for democracy," the editorial added. It gave credit to the new army chief "for ensuring that the military did not interfere in the elections", adding, "We hope that he continues that sound course."
The editorial said Musharraf's support for the war on terrorism was "never as unstinting as Washington claimed". Al Qaeda and the Taliban have found a safe shelter in Pakistan's tribal regions.
According to the Daily Times, the editorial said it would be more difficult to persuade Pakistan's new leaders to cooperate in their fight against terror.
It also advised the Bush Administration to persuade the people of Pakistan about the war against terror by emphasising that this is not just Washington's war. These extremists are also a big threat to Pakistan and its democracy.
In another editorial, the Detroit Free Press newspaper said the US will now have to forge an alliance with Pakistan's new leadership. "That starts with the United States urging Musharraf to respect the democratic process and to step aside. An orderly transition of power is essential in a nation that has nuclear weapons and is pivotal in the fight against terror," the editorial added.
The editorial said, "Although Musharraf was not on the ballot, returns showed that opposition parties would have more than the two-thirds majority required in the Pakistan parliament to impeach him from the presidency if he does not relinquish it. His political stock has plummeted since he declared a national state of emergency in November. It looks like the end of an era in Pakistan. That is the people's choice. Musharraf has to respect that, and the United States has to respect a new, democratically determined government."