OSLO (Norway): The final list of
hopefuls for this year's Nobel Peace Prize totals 194
candidates including the President of Pakistan, General Pervez
Musharraf for the prestigious award, the Nobel Institute
announced on Tuesday.
The list of candidates includes 50 organizations and 144
individuals also features names like Jacques Chirac, Tony
Blair and George W. Bush.
The final number of candidates was announced following the
first of many Nobel Committee meetings to determine who to
award the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.
The five members of the Nobel Committee, who are appointed by,
independent of, the Norwegian parliament, have the opportunity
first meeting to add their own candidates to the list of
outside nominations, which had to be sent by February-1.
Thousands of people are entitled to nominate for the prize --
including past laureates, members of parliament and cabinet
ministers from around the world and some university
Geir Lundestad, the head of the Nobel Institute, says
candidates chosen by Committee members don't necessarily have
a greater chance of winning the prestigious prize than
candidates nominated by outsiders.
"Members of the Committee submit names that seem interesting
to them.", he illustrated.
Other Potential Nobel Laureates
In addition to the French, British and US leaders, sources
reveal that the Pope, former Czech president Vaclav Havel, the
European Union (EU), former UN chief weapons inspector Hans
Blix, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed
ElBaradei, Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, and former Israeli
nuclear scientist Mordecai Vanunu are all potential Nobel
Musharraf: Nominee for South Asia Peace
Experts view that Pakistani President Gen Pervez Musharraf and
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee could be awarded
the prize for their work to relaunch a dialogue between their
two countries in January this year.
Being a candidate, however, in no way means that an individual
or an organization has the approval of the Nobel Committee,
according to Lundestad.
The laureate will be announced on October 8 or 15, Lundestad
said, adding that the prize would again this year be
accompanied by a check for 10 million kronor (1.3 million
dollars, 1.1 million euros).
Noted analyst Malik Siraj Akbar writes:
Hailing the efforts made by President General Pervez Musharraf
and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for taking bona fide
measures for maintenance of peace and harmony in South Asia
and de-escalating tensions, the renowned Washington Post
columnist Jim Hoagland, in his recent article 'Kashmir's
promise of peace', terms both of the leaders strong candidates
for the Noble Peace Prize by saying "shrewdness on the Indian
side and desperation in Pakistan have come together to produce
a potential Nobel Peace Prize for two uncommon leaders".
It is not the very first time that a suggestion of awarding
the Noble Peace Prize to President Musharraf has been made
from such an important quarter but seeing the very clear role
being played by the Pakistani President in fighting terrorism
against Al Qaeda and other extremist groups within Pakistan,
several important figures and organisations have also begun
supporting General Musharraf as the strongest entrant for the
Noble Peace Prize.
A veteran Indian Journalist, who had arrived in Islamabad in
January this year to cover the 12th SAARC Summit, also
appreciated the efforts of President General Musharraf for
maintaining peace in South Asia and uprooting religious
extremism and terrorism from his country. He declared the
general the most suitable person to be awarded the next Noble
The post 9/11 era witnessed a number of social, political,
economic and military changes in the whole world. One of the
most conspicuous developments of post 9/11 period was the
formation of an International Coalition against global
terrorism headed by the United States of America.
The coalition, which was aimed at controlling terrorism, was
supported by the entire world community. President Musharraf,
in spite of harsh resistance by some religious parties within
Pakistan, decided to join hands with the world community in
fighting the war against religious extremism and global
terrorism. Pakistan, led by Musharraf, emerged as one of the
most important partners of the coalition member states in the
war against terrorism as a frontline state. The support
Pakistan extended to the world community in the war against
Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda, was applauded by the whole world
including the United States.
In order to make the world and Pakistan a safer and
terrorism-free place, General Musharraf is presently engaged
in serious battles against anti-peace elements on three
Firstly, Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in the
war against Taliban and Osama Bin Ladin's Al-Qaeda, who
allegedly masterminded the terrorist attacks of September 11,
2001. Soon after the decision of the US President George Bush
to form an international alliance against global terrorism,
Pakistan became one of the very first states that offered all
sorts of cooperation including air bases.
Despite the fact that a
small majority of Pakistan's population, mostly consisting of
Islamic extremists, sternly censured President Musharraf's
decision, the general remained unbendable and dedicated to the
war against terrorism.
Although the fall of Taliban
brought an end to the first phase of the war against terrorism
for the United States and other coalition partners, the war
for Pakistan did not end there. Unexpectedly, the end of
second Afghan War resulted in the outbreak of more serious and
violent problems for Pakistan.
The Pro-Taliban and Pro-Al-Qaeda elements began to target
Pakistan for the support it had extended to the international
community in the war against terrorism. Several terrorist
attacks were perpetrated in various parts of Pakistan
resulting in innocent deaths. The remaining activists of
Taliban and Al-Qaeda also made efforts to enter Pakistan
through the Afghan border to cause more bloodshed here. Since
then, Pakistan has been a major target of recurrent attacks of
Pro-Taliban and Al-Qaeda elements.
Dealing with them, trying to prevent them from crossing the
border and in case of their presence in Pakistan, searching
and immuring them have been demanding challenges for the
government of General Musharraf but he has been fighting this
war with a strong-minded determination.
Secondly, the government of General Musharraf has been moving
heaven and earth to stamp out terrorism and religious
extremism within Pakistan by deciding to go to war against
those extremist-cum-terrorist elements within Pakistan who
have been pitilessly butchering the masses in the name of
religion. These outfits have not only caused defamation to
Pakistan globally but also defamed Islam.
It was General Musharraf who decided to obliterate all
organisations which were unswervingly embroiled in sectarian
violence. These elements had also left no stone unturned to
destabilise Pakistan. But they have not succeeded in
undermining the General's and Pakistani Nation's resolve in
creating a peaceful Pakistan.
Overtures for Peace
Thirdly, the front on which General Musharraf is presently
busy for providing peace a chance and renouncing war is that
of Indo-Pakistan ties. Despite the presence of warmongers on
both sides who believe that the sole remedy to all the
problems between Pakistan and India rests in wars, the General
has undertaken number of substantial steps to resolve all
bilateral issues by mutual dialogue.
Though India deployed its
troops on Pakistan's border but the Pakistani President, on
the contrary, kept his cool and opted for negotiations. Had it
been any other belligerent leader, a full-scale war between
Pakistan and India would have erupted long ago.
Moving towards Indian PM to
extend a hand of genuine amity in Katmandu during the 11th
SAARC Summit, announcement of a unilateral armistice,
reputedly importuning the United Nations and world leaders to
mediate between India and Pakistan and the demonstration of
flexibility on Kashmir are some examples of the General's
devotion toward maintenance of peace in South Asia.
It is worth mentioning that due to his dedicated efforts to
establish peace in Pakistan and in the world, General
Musharraf has had to pay a very heavy price.
He has become the most hated
person by the terrorists and as many as three assassination
attempts have been made on his life. He, however, seems to be
more confident than ever, being peace loving, with unflinching
World Must acknowledge Musharraf's Adore for Amity
The world community must acknowledge the fact that no world
leader, since 9/11, has taken as many substantial steps for
the promotion of world peace as General Musharraf has.
He, in the war against terror, has gone to an extent where his
own life is at stake and the terrorists belonging to Taliban,
Al Qaeda and the Pakistani religious organisations are craving
for his blood. It is earnestly hoped that the Pakistani leader
would continue his role in the establishment of peace in the
days to come despite the serious challenges.