THE expectation that President-General Musharraf of Pakistan will become plain President Musharraf by the end of the week is not quite the good news it may seem. If the Supreme Court finally determines on Thursday that he is legally able to serve a further five-year term as President it will only be because he has put the original members of the Court under house arrest and appointed others more likely to see things his way. This is hardly the step towards the restoration of good governance in Pakistan that he will no doubt claim it to be. Meanwhile there is no progress elsewhere despite the visit of John Negroponte, US Deputy Secretary of State, at the weekend. Although Mr Negroponte apparently got no concessions he left saying the US “values its partnership with Pakistan under the leadership of President Musharraf.” Thousands of political opponents, lawyers and judges remain locked up (few of them Islamist militants) and indications are that the state of emergency may not be lifted until the elections in early January have been held despite Mr Negroponte's pointed public statement that “Emergency rule is not compatible with free, fair and credible elections”. Benazir Bhutto has said she refuses to speak to Musharraf and another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, has refused a meeting with him in Saudi Arabia today. Will either of them want to contest the phoney election in January?


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