Washington, Apr 23: Extending blind US support to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and his dwindling band of collaborators will only prolong the agony and ordeal of the people of Pakistan, visitors to US Centre for Strategic and International Studies and Pakistani opinion makers feel.
Voicing strong criticism on Washington's proactive support to Musharraf and other military rulers in Pakistan, experts like Roedad Khan, Tanveer Ahmad Khan, Imran Khan, and Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, Lt. Generals (retired) Asad Durrani and Talat Masud, and others, described Musharraf as the "biggest obstacle to democracy" in Pakistan, as he continues to misuse his "unconstitutional and illegal election" as president to sabotage attempts to "restore the supremacy of the Constitution and the establishment of the Rule of Law".
They claimed that the Bush Administration's consistent support to dictatorship in Pakistan suggested that it was "antagonistic towards democracy in Pakistan, and they contended that "promoting the interest of one man (Musharraf), would result in the loss of support of 160 million Pakistanis.
Their consensus was that US policies vis-a-vis Pakistan needed to be completely overhauled and reversed to help turn the tide in Washington's favour.
Suggesting that support to Musharraf should be withdrawn, the opinion makers also described the meetings of two senior American envoys with Musharraf and the new government as being "in bad form" and categorically stated that the United States was interfering in the internal affairs of Pakistan.
To substantiate their stand, they also cited the visit of Anne Patterson, the American envoy to Pakistan, to London to meet with the self-exiled MQM leadership, and added that most of them (experts and opinion makers), were concerned that Musharraf is now hatching a conspiracy to sabotage the reinstatement of the 60-odd judges that he had sacked on November 2, 2007, a day before he declared an emergency in the country.
They said that the restoration of the sacked judges and the complete empowerment of the judiciary were considered to be essential ingredients for "introducing the doctrine of good governance in the country".
They warned that anything short of this goal, would ensure the regression of Pakistan into the clutches of dictators again.