Posts Tagged ‘General Musharraf’

No one will write to the General

August 30, 2008

Khushwant Singh | Hindustan Times, August 29, 2008

May God be your protector Mr Musharraf. Your almost nine-year autocratic rule has come to an inglorious end. It was wise of you to step down before they impeached you. Impeachment would have been neither in your nor your country’s interest.

At the end of your political career, you have more well-wishers in India than in your own country.

It was a minor miracle as you started off with an attempt to grab Kargil from us by force that almost brought our countries to the brink of a war. Several hundred lives, Pakistani and Indian, were lost in your misadventure. You were quick to realise that taking on India was no child’s play and being on good terms with us would be more profitable.

And so it was. Road, rail and air travel between us showed noticeable increase. So did trade, commerce and goodwill.

Relations between our countries had never been friendlier than in your latter years in power. We were not aware of the resentment building up against you in your own country because we did not have to suffer your authoritative rule. You should have known the adage: power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Granted you did not make money or promote your relations to privileged positions as most politicians do in our countries.

But you did rob your people off their rights and freedoms. You sacked the Chief Justice and 60 other judges. You ordered their arbitrary arrests. And you suspended the Constitution. You should have known you would have to pay a heavy price for doing so.

Your people turned against you. You tried to win support of your foreign allies. At the prodding of the Chinese, you ordered the storming of the Lal Masjid that had become the hot-bed of Taliban bigotry and attacked Chinese run beauty and massage parlours in Islamabad. Lal Masjid was a bloody affair in which many men and women were killed. At the prodding of the Americans you tried to recover areas in the north-west extending from Swat to Baluchistan. Many more lives including Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti’s were lost. That eroded the little support you had.

In the elections you reluctantly held, your party got a drubbing. Now we have Messrs Zardari, Sharif and Gilani — all three tainted with charges of corruption — at the helm of affairs of Pakistan. In actual fact, the one thing that holds the country together is the army. We are back to square one, but without your calling the shots. What are friends of Pakistan in India to make of this aborted attempt to become a democracy ?

Having said all that, we still invoke the mercy of Allah to protect you from harm. Many attempts were made on your life when you were in power. No doubt those very people will be dying to settle scores with you. Hence the prayer, Allah Hafiz!

Idle thoughts

What preoccupies the minds of men past their middle age after they have done their day’s work and have nothing to do? Based on introspection, I have come to the conclusion that they think of three things whose proportions vary with age but are concerned with basic needs of survival, procreation, reflections of their past years and uncertainty of the future.

If they are still working, they first think of how their work is progressing and what remains to be accomplished. They are concerned with their bread and butter, the instinct of survival. Then they think of sexual affairs they had or wanted to have. That is basically the instinct to procreate. And finally, they go over their past: friends they had, misunderstandings or deaths that ended their relationships and what the future holds for them. Mohammed Rafi Sauda (1713-1781), poet laureate of the Mughal Court, thought along the same lines:

Fikr-e-maash, ishq-e-butaan, yaad-e-raftgaan

Is zindagi mein ab koi kya kya karey

(Concern for livelihood, love for women, memories of the past

What else is there to left to man in his life?)

Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797-1869) had much the same thing to say, except that he was obsessed with impending death.

He craved for fursat (a break from the all-consuming business of making a living to indulge his mind on other things):

Jee dhoondta hai phir vahi fursat ke raat din

Baithey rahen tassavur-e-jaanaam kiye hue

In later life, a man spends less time thinking of his livelihood. Recollections of affairs with women recede into the background as do memories of departed friends. He begins to worry more of his unknown future.

Musharraf’s last message

Mujhe aur kuch nahi chahiye; mujhe mere haal pe rehne do

I don’t need anything except to be left to my fate.

There is a deep conspiracy to kick me out at any rate.

All along I worked honestly but a man at times makes a mistake;

Pardon me and don’t try to exaggerate.

For me Pakistan is everything: I leave it in the hands of the gods,

God: bless it and guard it against all odds.

After consulting legal luminaries, friends and foes

In the interest of Pakistan I resign;

It is only to safeguard the interests of

Pakistan and not mine.

(Courtesy: Lachhmandass, Janakpuri, Delhi)

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The Return of Benazir Bhutto

October 19, 2007

(The last sentence in the following editorial shows how the MSM in the US make the misleading claim that America can help Benazir Bhutto and Pakistan move towards democracy. I believe it is more of a joke than a serious view! However, being a Pakistani I have got used to all the nonsense emanating from various sources about the American deeds over the past 60 years in and around Pakistan in the service of ‘democracy’. –Nasir Khan)
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The New York Times, Editorial, October 19, 2007

It’s no surprise that Benazir Bhutto’s return to Pakistan was painstakingly choreographed: She emerged from her plane in Karachi yesterday clutching a Koran and dressed in Pakistan’s national colors. Comebacks, after all, are her specialty. Since her father, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was executed in 1979, she’s been elected prime minister twice, deposed twice on charges of corruption and self-exiled twice. Now, at 54, she’s back for another try.

Ms. Bhutto got a swift and horrifying reminder of how close Pakistan is to the brink — and of what she’s up against — when explosions ripped through the crowds near her motorcade last night, killing scores of people.

It’s hard to see her return as a victory for democracy, especially since it is the result of a dubious deal with Gen. Pervez Musharraf that grants him another five years in the presidency. Nor is it a great triumph for the rule of law, since, in exchange for playing ball with the general, Ms. Bhutto has been handed a convenient amnesty that wipes out serious corruption charges dating back to her years as prime minister. Without that protection, she would have risked possible imprisonment by returning home.

Still, letting her back in to lead her party’s ticket in the soon-to-be-held parliamentary elections is an important step forward for a country that has been subjected to eight years of essentially one-man rule and has grown ever more polarized.

Ms. Bhutto’s greatest challenge will be to redeem this tawdry trade-off by using her popularity and skills to leverage this modest political opening into something resembling genuine democracy. Her first step should be to insist that those parliamentary elections are open to all, including her longtime political rival, Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister. His previous tenure, like hers, was badly flawed. But they are Pakistan’s two most popular politicians, and without the participation of both of them there can be no Pakistani democracy.

Washington’s help will be crucial in this effort. For too long it has coddled General Musharraf for his supposedly stalwart policies against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. But recently, those policies have seemed scarcely more credible than his hollow promises to accept the constraints of law and democracy or his commitment to free elections.

After belatedly recognizing that the general’s misrule was dangerously strengthening, not weakening, extremist forces in Pakistan, Washington helped engineer the deal that permitted Ms. Bhutto’s return. Now, it must help her and Pakistan truly move toward democracy.


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