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Musharraf had to go, time for us to move on: Pak media
August 19, 2008 13:13 IST
Last Updated: August 19, 2008 13:46 IST
Pakistan's leading newspapers on Tuesday said former President Pervez Musharraf's exit from the country's top post was 'inevitable' and wondered why he took so long to step down, while pointing out the need for the nation to move on.
Commenting on the development, leading English daily Dawn's editorial said Musharraf 'bowed to the inevitable', in a step that an 'overwhelming majority' of politicians were hoping for.
'It came at 2.02 pm. Three quarters of an hour into a speech that kept the nation on tenterhooks. President Musharraf bowed to the inevitable and announced his resignation. Here at last was the moment the overwhelming majority of the country's politicians had been hoping for,' the editorial titled Exit Musharraf read.
'Most will wonder why it took the President so long; some will rue the lost opportunity to impeach him. What is incontestable is that the country must move on from this crisis quickly,' it said.
Now that that hurdle has removed itself, the paper said, the field is open for politicians to address the most pressing problems facing the nation, prominent among which are militancy and economy, besides relations with India and Afghanistan.
English daily, The News, called the President's exit a 'delusional departure'.
'The inevitable has happened. Left with no options, President Musharraf has stepped down. His reign of nearly nine years has ended. The nation has heard him speak for the very last time as Head of State,' The News read.
'The fact is that Musharraf, who perhaps at the start of his tenure, set out to serve Pakistan with greater sincerity than others who came before him, left a considerable mark on the country -- in the end his belief that he alone was a saint and all others villains worthy of little respect was a key factor in his undoing,' it added.
The News, like the Dawn, also highlighted Musharraf's 'successes' during his nine-year reign, listing among them the steps he initiated to bring about gender equality.
The steps taken to expand the role in public sphere for women through the increase in reserved seats for them in assemblies ahead of the 2002 polls was an important achievement, the paper said.
Besides, the undoing of General Ziaul Haq's draconian Hudood laws through the 2006 Protection of Women Act and the 2004 amendment in law to punish those guilty of 'honour' killings are all landmark decisions as far as rights for women go, The News editorial read.
The daily described Musharraf's 'last speech' as an 'attempt to place a halo around his own head as he walked away into the twilight'.
The Daily Times in its editorial titled 'Going, going, gone' praised the restraint Musharraf displayed in his last speech towards his opponents.
'He was in control of himself, he was confident and assured, neither bitter nor crowing. He did not lash out at the coalition government. He did not curse the role of media whose freedom he had made possible and which turned against him in the bitter end, and he did not criticise the lawyers' movement that is baying for his blood,' the Daily Times editorial read.
The paper said that Musharraf's nadir came in 2007 when he blundered by sacking the chief justice of Pakistan and an extraordinary lawyers' movement supported by civil society literally brought him to his terminal blunder -- the declaration of emergency in November 2007.
'Finally, it was the incumbency factor that got him. Staying on in power beyond five or six years is simply not an option,' it said.
Another popular paper The Post wrote that Musharraf has finally bowed out to the challenge mounted by Pakistan's Parliament to unravel his suffocating grip on the presidency.
'There is no gain saying that the final decision must have been a tough moment for Musharraf but then he was left with very few choices,' the Post said.
Welcoming his decision to step down, the Nation expressed relief that his step brought an end to the confrontation between the presidency and ruling coalition, that did not appear to be relenting in its drive to oust him.
'The day climaxing a silent revolution will go down as a major landmark of our history and may leave some important lessons for those who had been used to nursing Bonapartist notions,' it said.
'After Musharraf's exit, the ruling coalition will have to accept the responsibility of running the government because from now on it would not be able to find anyone else to shift the blame for its failures,' it added.
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