"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

New York

Pakistan public expect healing touch from Zardari

From Monsters and Critics.

Ijaz Afridi, a school teacher, is indifferent to the election of Asif Ali Zardari as Pakistan's new president. He is too busy with receiving condolences from visitors for his cousin, who was butchered by a suicide bomber together with 35 other people on Saturday, as lawmakers were voting for the new head of the state.

A single attacker in his twenties blew up his explosive-laden car after failing to cross a security checkpoint in a busy market just outside Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) on Saturday.

Afridi continues to state,

'It makes no difference to us whether Zardari or someone else becomes the president of Pakistan. The Taliban will rule this area and our brothers, fathers and sons will continue to become the food of conflict between them and security forces,' said Afridi....

How to stop and reverse the Taliban's infiltration into Pakistan is perhaps going to be the foremost challenge for Zardari....

'People want him to deliver political goods and in the list of these political goods security stands at the top,' said Rasool Bux Raees, a professor in political science at the prestigious Lahore University of Management Sciences.

He warns if Zardari fails, people might become disillusioned with the democracy and look for alternatives either in military or even in the extremist forces....

'I will assess Zardari's performance on what he does for the poor people like me,' said Irshad Ahmed a construction worker as he carried a bag of cement on his back in an upmarket neighbourhood of Islamabad.

'I earn 6,000 rupees (around 45 US dollars) a month and everything is spent on buying food for my five children, wife and me. But we need more than that. My children want to buy new clothes on Eid (Muslim festival at the end of fasting month of Ramadan) and I do not have money for that,' he added.

This article truly describes the battle Pakistani leaders have in front of them. They must secure the population by lessening insurgent control, bring in economic prosperity and freedom to the region, and allow people the ability to provide for their families. Otherwise the people will look first and foremost for security, even if it comes from insurgents.

The one advantage the Pakistani government has is it is a freely elected government which can be put out of power by the very people who put it into power. As such, a democracy must govern for the people if it hopes to remain in power. This fact became lost on Musharraf when he deposed the judges and declared emergency rule. As such, the people put him and his party out of office. Simultaneously, insurgent groups also suffered at the polls which tells the people of Pakistan want security, liberty to pursue a better life, and a good life for their family.

In addition, the military has maintained an apolitical stance, a first in Pakistan, while all these power changes have taken place. People are hopeful in Pakistan. The government must now focus on securing the population which means eliminating the Taliban and Al Qaeda insurgency. Once secure, the Pakistani economy will start to blossum and people like Ahmed will not only be able to buy just food for his children, but also new clothes. However, the Pakistani government must do it in a way so as to maintain popular support otherwise we may see a future election of salafists in Pakistan. We can only hope the new leadership in Pakistan can build an effective coalition and govern for the betterment of the people who elected them into office.

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