Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has officially resigned, telling his country of 160 million people in a televised address, “I hope the nation and the people will forgive my mistakes.” Pakistan now enters a dangerous moment of instability.
It is not yet clear who will replace Musharraf, and as I’ve written before, Pakistan has long been one car bomb away from a bin Laden-ally seizing power. Should an al Qaeda-type Radical gain control of the country and its nuclear weapons, we could be facing an apocalyptic moment. Let us pray without ceasing that a Reformer will emerge who is respectful of Islam but is committed to true freedom, democracy, and the rule of law and who can root out corruption and protect minorities throughout the country. Note, however, that the last Reformer who began emerging there was Benazir Bhutto who was then assassinated after returning from exile.
For all his many flaws, Musharraf was steadily becoming a Reformer. After 9/11, he became a key ally of the U.S., helping us in our war against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan rather than interfering. He and his security forces worked closely with us to capture numerous top jihadists, including Khalled Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11. He was also supportive of protecting Pakistan’s rapidly growing Christian minority, which has been very important because Muslims are turning to Christ there in record numbers (I just met with a top Pakistani Christian leader for lunch last week and learned that there are now more than 2.5 million MBBS or Muslim Background Believers there.) Musharraf, to his great credit, also dramatically reached out to Israel, in defiance of the jihadists in his country. He once shook hands with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, something the Saudis won’t even do, and gave a remarkable speech to the American Jewish Congress in New York City in 2005.
Let us pray for this important nation as it enters a time of great change and risk.