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Politics & Policy

2 years of Pervez Musharraf Government

As a matter of fact the present government, despite facing many crises, has achieved much more in two years

From SHAMIM AHMED RIZVI
Islamabad
Oct 22 - 28, 2001

Unlike the past military rulers or even the elected Prime Ministers, President General Pervez Musharraf has celebrated second anniversary of his rule in a novel way. Instead of arranging special supplements in the National dailies with generous dole out of Advertisement through Ministry of Information highlighting the government achievements in different fields. General Musharraf directed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to immediately start examining audit report specially containing charges of corruption and misuse of official powers by the functionaries of his government at higher level during the past 2 years.

The President wanted to confirm personally the reports conveyed to him that corruption at higher level has been eliminated. He will feel satisfied if this impression is confirmed by the Public Accounts Committee. The President is of the view that it would also help the policy makers to assess change in the government level as well. The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has already compiled the audit report pertaining to 1999-2000 and submitted to Public Accounts Committee for their examination. The A.G.P. has been directed to expedite audit of 2000-2001 at the earliest so that PAC could take it up immediately after the examination of 1999-2000 period which it has already started scrutinizing.

General Musharraf completed 2 years of its rule on Oct 12, 2001. The day however, passed quietly without any fanfare, not because the government has nothing to show to the public as its achievement. As a matter of fact the present government, despite facing many crises, has achieved much more in two years compared to any government in the recent past. The present government may have failed to achieve desired results in many areas but nobody can deny them the credit for more than satisfactory performance in some other areas.

Unrealistically high expectations were awakened after the dismissal of Nawaz Sharif government on Oct. 12, 1999 and when these expectations remained unfulfilled, frustration set in. People expected a revolution which has not taken place. The decline in economy has certainly been checked but it has not taken a turn around. The law and order situation has improved but the conditions are not yet normal. Confidence is still to be restored. Two-year ago a ruthless accountability of corrupt holders of public offices, and crack down on smugglers was on top of the agenda of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, but this process has been slow while from a present government people expected fast and swift action. At the same time, however, it cannot be denied that it is for the first time in the history of this country that the accountability process has been initiated and action taken against prime ministers, former chief ministers, former federal and provincial ministers, former senior most officers of the armed forces, former senior most civil service officers, well-known businessmen, prominent landlords from all parts of the federation. In fact for the first time this process has started from the top-most to the lowest, including a Patwari.

However, what strikes as more remarkable than any other features of this government is the almost undeniable fact that it has been able to demonstrate within 24 months that it is definitely possible in Pakistan to have a decent government. After 1958, this is the first government about which it can be safely said that the sky above it is clear. There are no reports, not even muffled suggestions, of wrong doing at the higher levels of administration.

President Pervez Musharraf has conducted himself with transparent modesty and honesty that has been simply disarming. In a country which has never tasted or exercised so much of freedom as under this government, it is significant that this government has been the least criticized or castigated in the last four decades.

The credit for putting Pakistan once again on the world map in a position of respect and honour would have to be given personally to President Pervez Musharraf. There is no mystique to his qualities of leadership. It is simply honesty of purpose, commitment to values, respect for what is good, rejection for what is bad and the capacity to carry his colleagues with him through thick and thin.

The most testing time for Musharraf government came when the world woke up to a different reality on Sept. 12. With the international agenda shifting from nonproliferation to war on terrorism, Islamabad found itself again in the spotlight playing a role it had played before. Just as suddenly as the world priorities changed, so did Pakistan's short of completely severing its ties with the Taliban Regime Islamabad had been supporting for the last six years, Pakistan has all but taken a u-turn in its Afghan policy. Finding itself between the proverbial devil and the deep sea, Pakistan had few options not to go this way. Pakistan has so far received only assurances for economic and political support for this new turn in its foreign policy fraught with grave risks. It is yet to be seen how the present government manages to come out unscathed from the present world crisis of grave magnitude.