Dawn : Pakistanis jubilant over Musharraf's resignation

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pakistanis jubilant over Musharraf's resignation

August 18, 2008

MULTAN, Aug 18 (Reuters/AFP): Pakistanis danced in the streets on Monday after President Pervez Musharraf announced his resignation, with many ordinary people hoping his departure would bring improvement to their lives.

Lawyers, who have spearheaded an anti-Musharraf campaign since he tried to sack the chief justice last year, stormed out of courts in Multan on hearing of Musharraf's resignation, shouting “Down with the American stooge.”

Jaffar Shah, a retired soldier in Peshawar, said: “The root cause of all problems has gone. I wish I could fire shots to show my joy but unfortunately I can't do that.”

People in Karachi handed out sweets and danced in celebration.

“Thank God he's resigned. The country will do much better now. It's a victory for the people,” said a businessman.

In Lahore, the sound of drums and cheers of joy echoed throughout this ancient walled city.

Elsewhere, people fired Kalashnikovs in the air to celebrate.

Some Pakistanis harboured what seem unrealistic expectations for the post-Musharraf outlook: “Inflation is surely going to go down now,” said one shopkeeper.

Others were less optimistic as despite Musharraf's unpopularity, many Pakistanis are suspicious of the civilian politicians -- a number of whom have returned to power -- were dogged by accusations of corruption and mismanagement when they ruled in the 1990s.

Some said they feared that with Musharraf gone, the coalition would be beset by infighting between them.

Other Pakistanis sounded a note of caution, saying that the nation would now likely see more political chaos.

“I think we should see about the state of the country. The coalition have been saying Musharraf was a big obstacle. We will see what they do now,” Ahmed, a political analyst said.