Press Release, August 18
Lahore: While hailing General (R) Pervez Musharraf’s resignation from presidentship as the logical result of the people’s verdict of February 18, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has stressed the sobering effect of the development and reminded the coalition partners that satisfaction of the people’s heightened expectations will now demand greater sincerity and resoluteness than before. In a statement issued here today, the HRCP chairperson, Asma Jahangir, said:
Although General (R) Musharraf’s decision to quit before getting impeached will be considered one of his rare acts of kindness to the people, no tears will be shed for him. If he really cared for Pakistan as much as he claimed in his long peroration today, he should have resigned much earlier, as soon as the February 18 results were out. Indeed he might well have desisted from subverting the constitution nine years ago. But while the coalition partners and the people at large have good reason to celebrate their victory, the present is a sobering moment. Now the people’s expectations, already high after February 18, will soar even higher. The government will be tested to the extreme in meeting these expectations. Unity of democratic forces, effective supremacy of parliament, and consolidation of institutions of governance, the judiciary foremost among them, will be essential for pulling the state out of the mire created by a dictatorship. The issues that will brook no delay are: steps to fight ongoing insurgency in the north and the plight of the internally displaced persons as a result thereof; a crash programme to deal with the economic crisis, especially the rising cost of living and unemployment; and the urgency of guaranteeing the security of life and liberty. The people also must not forget that constant vigil is the price of liberty. And of progress too.