Musharraf Is Not a Dictator

To the editors:

Re: “The Failure in the War on Terror column,” column, Feb. 25.

Your columnist Mr. Samad Khurram introduces himself as a member of the “resistance movement” against Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf.

Sitting in the heart of the Pakistani federal capital and analyzing the country’s politics both on my weekly television show and my Internet blog (, I am amused to see how your overzealous columnist is misleading your readers. From where I stand, I don’t see any “movement” in Pakistan against the Pakistani president.

What I and all of us here see is the Pakistani nation peacefully transferring power from President Musharraf to the elected representatives of the nation. And President Musharraf, whose policies I support as a young Pakistani, is an active agent in this civilized and peaceful process of change.

If President Musharraf is a dictator, as your columnist and some other people believe, then he is making history because Mr. Musharraf has not only voluntarily held, on Feb. 18, the fairest election in Pakistan’s 60-year modern history, but has also made life difficult for Pakistan’s famously inept and incompetent politicians by licensing and unleashing more than 80 independent television news networks across the country.

Musharraf raised the standards of the Pakistani media by tolerating most of its very critical content of his administration. Now the Pakistani politicians have no choice but to deal with a very bold and intrusive media for the first time since our Independence in 1947.

Finally, if there is any failure in the war on terror, it is a joint American-Pakistani failure. Didn’t the U.S. soldiers let a cornered Osama bin Laden escape from under their noses in Tora Bora in Nov. 2001? Who squandered the best opportunity to arrest him, the Pakistanis or the Americans?


Islamabad, Pakistan

February 27, 2008