Middle class prospered under Musharraf, but want more now

The middle class of Pakistan feels that they have prospered under Musharraf regime, but say that they want more now.

A group of call centre agents of Pakistan who were discussing the political issues was divided about the leader they wanted to see at the pinnacle, but were unanimous on one thing.

"We've done well under Musharraf - we've got better jobs and more economic freedom," said one.

"Now we want more," added another.

According to critics, though many have benefited from the President Pervez Musharraf's rule, they now want to see a change. They either want former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif or Pakistan People's Party chief Benazir Bhutto to rule the nation.

"I guess people have short memories," Times Online said a Western diplomat.

Pakistan has witnessed recession, political inefficiency, and inefficient government sector when Sharif and Bhutto were in power. Corruption is still rife during Musharraf Government, but it has privatised over five billion dollars worth of assets and opened the gate for foreign investment. This has mostly benefited the army and a small landowning elite, the publication said in its analysis.

The economic growth of Pakistan is not because of economic reforms carried out during Musharraf's regime, but it is attributed mainly to the 10 billion of American aid and huge remittances from Pakistanis overseas since 9/11, the critics has analysed.

"If you benchmark Musharraf against the past, this has been a golden age," said Sakib Sherani, the chief economist at ABN Amro bank in Islamabad.

"The figures are correct, but is this growth sustainable, equitable or desirable?"

Some believes that the reason for Musharraf's unpopularity is his close ties with the US.  

Pakistan's independent media has also played a role in Musharraf's unpopularity.

Live news, talk shows and satirical send-ups played a key role in turning the middle class against him after his failed attempt to sack the Chief Justice in March.

On the other hand, some says that Musharraf has become a victim of his own success - by fostering a prosperous, well-informed and independent-minded professional class. (With Inputs from ANI)