Editorial: Goodbye Musharraf, Checkmate For Others

Editorial: Goodbye  Musharraf, Checkmate For Others

It was only a matter of time before the Pakistani dictator stepped down.  But there are a lot of lessons to be gleaned from his resignation.

Musharraf, like his dictator counterparts in the third world, thought that his western allies would run for his rescue. But apparently some western powers have learned the 1978 lesson of the Iranian Shah.

The lesson is that backing despotic regimes vis-à-vis the will of peoples, and helping them to sustain for the sake of some western interests will eventually increase the gap between the west and third world countries, and most dangerously, will add fuel to the rising radical sentiments in the region.

Western intelligentsia must understand our region’s need for change, and that the Pakistani experience in peaceful constitutional change is the best possible scenario of democratic transformation for our region, and the kind of change we in the Muslim Brotherhood opt for, namely, peaceful democratic change that honors the choice of the people, shuns violence, and comes through the ballot box.

Further, western powers must immediately stop backing authoritarian regimes and let the people determine their destiny, let the ballots speak higher than the bullets. With the continuous audio and video recordings of Al Zawahri and his likes, worst scenarios are still possible. But we shouldn’t wait until our peoples fall victims to a deadly catastrophe.

In Egypt, we must not forget that Mubarak and Musharraf are two sides of the same coin.

  Many dictators in our region occupy an outstanding place in the museum of contemporary dictatorships along with Mugabe, Musharraf, and other authoritatian masterpieces that remain prominent in third world countries up till the twenty first century.

Mubarak’s regime has committed as many violations as Musharrafs, and perhaps has exceeded Musharraf in despotism and brutality. Vote rigging, systematic horrific torture, cracking down on secularist opposition, referring moderate Islamist leaderships to military tribunals, suppressing bloggers and Facebook activists, arresting Liberal youth from streets, to name a few examples. 

The Pakistani experience, however, has one aspect worthy of emulation. The coalition of opposition forces has set an amazing example of a union between secularist and Islamist parties, all agreed –finally- on a common end, Musharraf the dictator must leave.

Here is a lesson for Islamist and secular opposition in Egypt. Ideological differences must not disrupt national unity. We should immediately launch a comprehensive political coalition that acts as the first necessary step towards the democratization of Egypt. Let’s establish a new social contract that asserts freedom and democracy, preserves human rights, and praises the value of power transfer. Without such contract, youth will grow more disaffected and eventually resort to radicalism, which will definitely jeopardize the future of this nation.

The resignation of Pakistan’s Musharraf offers much hope for the region’s oppressed nations.  I foresee other falling domino blocks in the third world, and I see light at the end of the dark tunnel of dictatorship.


Khaled Hamza, Ikhwanweb Chief Editor