Musharraf need not resign

Please refer to H.K. Dua’s front-page editorial, “Better Musharraf leaves on his own than told to do so” (Feb 20). I disagree with Mr Dua’s observation that General Musharraf should quit after the recent election result in Pakistan. After the unfortunate assassination of Mrs Benazir Bhutto, Indian intellectuals had arrived at three conclusions that: Pakistan was a failed state; Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal would fall into the hands of militants; and President Musharraf would not let his country go to the poll and if it did it would be rigged.

These prophets of doom have been proved wrong on all three counts. Pakistan is not a failed state, its nuclear arsenal is in safe hands and it has a strong command and control system to use or not to use it. Elections in Pakistan have not been postponed indefinitely, rigged or cancelled. In fact they have been very fair and clean.

In South Asia elections are not usually free and fair. Our party remembers that in 1991 the elections in Punjab were cancelled at the eleventh hour on the advise of Narasimha Rao who had not taken the oath of Prime Minister but the then President had accepted his advise, nevertheless.

As regards the judiciary in India and Pakistan, they are like tweedle dum and tweedle dee. Recently the Indian judiciary has declared that Sikhs who compose 2 per cent of India’s population are a majority in a country that has an unitary constitution. Similarly, judiciary in Pakistan gave a pro-Musharraf verdict.

Our party stands for stability in Pakistan and President Musharraf has assured that. He has wisely protected his country from any military adventurism by a neighbouring country, when events had appeared to become chaotic in Pakistan. He has also kept military intrusions by American and NATO forces, on the facile theory of hot pursuit, to his country, in abeyance. In spite of all this, like a good juggler he has kept the American and western powers on his right side. These are no mean achievements.

Moreover, he has recognised the Sikh minority, made the Pakistan Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, and the 1909 Anand Marriage Act has become a legal tender. These are unique legislations as no Islamic country gives legal and constitution recognition to a minority, specially a non-Islamic religion. Therefore we would be happy for President Musharraf to complete his presidential term in office.

SIMRANJIT SINGH MANN, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Quilla S. Harnam Singh


There is more to Musharraf than meets the eye. He knows the art of governance and will make way for himself even in the worst case scenario. His impeachment is out of question in the near future since the PPP and the PML (N) have not obtained a two-thirds majority and the PML (Q) now has a majority in the Senate.

In Pakistan, democracy has always been viewed as a “sand bag of the Army” and it would continue to be so. Old habits die hard, let us not forget. Musharraf may engineer a conflict between the PPP and the PML (N) even if they come together. When two elephants fight, it is the grass which suffers. The People of Pakistan would suffer again in the fight of the politicians.

K.J.S. AHLUWALIA, Amritsar


President Pervez Musharraf is ranked the world’s eighth worst dictator. He must voluntary resign following his party’s defeat in the elections. He ruled like a dictator all along. But now, he should quit on his own and let the National Assembly elect a new President and Prime Minister who could reflect the national mood. All jehadis posted on various ranks in the military must be removed forthwith.

Mr Nawaz Sharif and Mr Asif Ali Zardari must find concrete ways to restore democracy in Pakistan; they must strive to maintain a congenial atmosphere so that it does not get derailed and frittered away again.



Mr Dua has elaborated the chequered eight-year military rule under President Pervez Musharraf and the post-election scenario in Pakistan. The PPP and the PML-N who have jointly secured an absolute majority in the National Assembly elections should show statesmanship, forget their past envies and ensure the installation of a democratic government in their country. They should not forget the agony of the people who suffered immensely under the long military rule by the Army Generals since Pakistan’s formation.

Mr Musharraf, who has ruled the country with an iron hand in total disregard of the wishes of his countrymen, should graciously step down from the post of presidentship and allow the new government to select his successor. Hope better sense will prevail upon him.

D.P. JINDAL, Mandi Gobindgarh


The front-page editorial is an exhaustive and candid resume of the post-election scenario in Pakistan. We are very much interested in the developments in Pakistan. It is a triumph of democracy. Let us wait and watch how things will improve in that country.

R.S. GURUNG, Commandant (retd), Kandrori (Kangra)

Of Budget and taxation

With time ticking for the Union Budget, the following measures are needed to check inflation. Experience shows that the lower the tax rate, the more the voluntary compliance. Therefore, the tax rate should be brought down from 3 per cent to 2 per cent on all income-tax payers. The basic income-tax exemption should be raised from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh.

The basic exemption limit of senior citizens should be increased to Rs 2.5 lakh since in most cases, their income is bank interest.

The employees (salaried class) are the worst sufferers because the standard deduction has been withdrawn. They should be allowed standard deduction proportionately and extra surcharge on higher income should be abolished. If these suggestions are accepted, the recent increase in tax collection by 42 per cent will be maintained and the assessees will also get relief.

H. S. GHAI, Advocate, Khanna



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