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, but
independent of, the Norwegian parliament, have the opportunity during their
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 professors.
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 laureates.
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 Peace Prize.
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 fronts:
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 courage.
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.