President Pervez Musharraf's script for a tightly controlled political transition moved ahead on cue Thursday, as his hand-picked Supreme Court dismissed the final legal challenge to Musharraf becoming president for another five-year term and officials said he would resign as army chief within days.
Aides and supporters of Musharraf said they hoped that once he is sworn in as a civilian president, probably by this weekend, the barrage of domestic and foreign criticism against his imposition of emergency rule will recede and the nation's attention will turn to parliamentary and provincial legislative elections now scheduled for Jan. 8.
"All the issues making the politicians agitate will be resolved," said Tariq Azim Khan, the deputy information minister. "General Musharraf will take off his uniform and become Mr. President. The emergency definitely will be short-lived. The people should begin preparing for elections and let the best man win."
Let the best man win...under emergency rule. But we hardly should be concerned; our President says Musharraf is a man who "believes in democracy", which says something troubling about either our President's guillability or his insincerity.