Washington, Aug 25 : During his nine-year long rule, former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf dealt lightly with terrorists, leaving them able to make trouble both for Afghanistan, on one side of his nation, and India on the other, said an editorial in the Houston Chronicle.
It said that now it was up to Nawaz Shraif and Asif Ali Zardari to adopt a crack-down policy against Al Qaeda militants.
The paper said that though Musharraf himself proved a poor leader terms of combating terror, his resignation has further left "political mess" in Pakistan. "The newspaper is of the view that Musharraf proved a poor leader. He may have been the best bet for assistance in the war on terror at the time the US sought those ties. But his forced resignation leaves quite a political mess," said the editorial.
It is now for PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif and PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari to step up and provide the leadership they have yet to display, the paper said and added. "It will have to be seen if the two of them can govern together or whether they were only able to co-operate when battling Musharraf."
The new government needs to end this wink-and-nod policy, and truly crack down on the Al Qaeda operatives who have taken refuge inside Pakistan's borders. Within Pakistan, the instability terrorists wreak has contributed to spiraling inflation and a fall in the value of the Pakistani rupee. "Internationally, Pakistan's blind eye towards terrorists could have fatal consequences for the US and its allies," said the Texas-based paper.
It added: "If Sharif and Zardari are to succeed where Musharraf could not, they have to put aside their petty differences. They have to gain the support of the army which, though demoralised, remains the most powerful force in Pakistan. They have to convince Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Kayani that corralling the ISI is important not just for America's priority, the war on terror, but also for the stability of Pakistan. And they have to trust General Kayani, a one-time head of the ISI, to do his job."
It also said: "As Musharraf exits, Pakistan needs a revivified military and strong civilian rule if it is to quell the havoc caused by Al Qaeda. The US needs all of that too."