President Musharraf’s election victory will be welcomed in Washington where he is regarded as a key ally in the fight against terrorism. If the Supreme Court give its ascent he will become Pakistan’s longest serving ruler. But events in the run-up to the vote show that internal stability is far from guaranteed. If he does not fulfil a promise to relinquish his military role eight years after seizing power in a coup, the turmoil is likely to increase.
He won a showdown with Islamists in recent months but they remain deeply hostile to his rule. And the northern tribal regions appear scarcely under the government’s control.
But he also earned enemies among liberals and intellectuals over a decision to suspend the country’s Chief Justice, Iftikar Mohammad Chaudhry. That sparked a violent backlash on the streets with protestors claiming the President had abused his powers.
But he is also credited with bringing economic stability to Pakistan and fostering peace moves with India. Now it is up to the Supreme Court to decide if there is to be another chapter in the Musharraf presidency.