Saturday, November 11, 2006

Mush...Musharraf
Soon after General Musharraf had taken over as the head of Pakistan, the Dawn columnist Ardeshir Cowasjee was talking to a women's delegation. Telling them that this was perhaps the best time in recent years to get some outdated misogynist laws repealed, Cowasjee had said, "Ladies, while the General is batting, ask away."

This, more than anything else, succinctly summed up the initial euphoria that Pakistan's intelligentsia felt with General Pervez Musharraf's rule. To many Pakistanis it seemed that this gallant and decorated army general, hailing from a modern and secular middle class background could deliver. The two earlier democratic goverments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, with their corruption and nepotism not to mention the constant pandering to right wing sentiments for votes, had left many people disillusioned. Musharraf, however, could't deliver all that he had promised but as a start he did take some baby steps toward modernity and has tried to keep extremely retrograde Islamic laws at bay.

In the meantime 9/11 happened and Musharraf was under extreme pressure to cooperate with the US and bring scores of Taliban and other terror outfits, operating both out of Afghanistan and Pakistan, to book. The armed incursions that the Pakistani army had to make into the border territory with Afghanistan made Musharraf extremely unpopular both within the army and among his own people. Twice in the last few years he came close to being assassinated. So fraught with dangers is his job that in the words of the TIME magazine he holds the "world's most dangerous job". There are also rumors that he owes his position, indeed his very life, to the help and support of the US Intelligence.

In his autobiography In the line of Fire , that was released in September this year, Musharraf talks about Pakistan, Islam,
Al-Qaeda and the terrorism that is threatening peace today. He also shows us glimpses from his childhood, the years spent in Turkey (where his father served in the Embassy) and his youth in the Pakistan Military Academy. From the Academy to the Army House (the home of Pakistan's Army Chief) to the Head of State, the journey was fraught with dangers. Obviously he takes immense liberty with facts. And nowhere is this more evident than his recounting of the hijacking drama of 1999, when following his dismissal by Nawaz Sharif's govt. as the Army Chief, he was denied the right to land in his own country. He then goes on to call his dismissal as Sharif's coup; his own coup d'etat where he deposes a democratically elected govt then conveniently becomes a "countercoup".

The next few chapters deal with rebuilding the economy. Although it is well known that Musharraf did initiate an economic liberalization program spearheaded by his Finance Minister, New York banker Shaukat Aziz, this section is mainly a self applaudatory exercise. As his the following section where is talks of his "achievements" in the war on terror.

However, to his credit he is extremely critical of the appeasement of the religious right in Pakistan. And of two of Pakistan erstwhile leaders, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, for their kowtowing to the religious fundamentalists. In his own words

By the time his regime ended, I had come to the conclusion that Bhutto was the worst thing that had ever happened to Pakistan. I still maintain that he did more damage to the country than anyone else, damage from which we have still not fully recovered. Among other things he was the first to try to appease the religious right. He banned liquor and gambling and declared Friday a holiday instead of Sunday. This was hypocrisy at its peak, because everyone knew that he did not believe in any one of these actions

And this later about Zia

President Zia, in the 1980s, completed what Bhutto had started in the dying phase of his regime- the total appeasement of the religious lobby. By hanging Bhutto, he turned Bhutto into a martyr and his political party-the PPP-into a great force. Zia found it convenient to align himself with the religious right and create a supportive constituency for himself. He started overemphasizing and overparticipating in religious rituals to show his alignment with the religious lobby. Even music and entertainment became officially taboo, whereas I am told that in private he personally enjoyed good semiclassical music.

pictures scanned in from the book (without permission)

Interspersed are stories of his love for a East Pakistani Bengali girl, his arranged marriage to his wife Sehba after their long courtship and the birth of his children. He also tells us his distaste of Islamic laws. About a lashing he says,

It was an ordeal just to be present at such a distasteful event, the most inhuman and humiliating that I have ever witnessed. The jailer set out a sofa for me, and a table laden with cakes and pastries for my pleasure. The image of a Roman Colosseum sprang to my mind. The least I could do was order him to remove the cakes and pastries immediately.
.....................................................................................
The lasher began by drawing a line with a marker across the buttocks of the criminal, indicating the exact spot where the lashes were to be delivered. He came running and gave the first lash as hard as he could. The man tightened his muscles on the first lash, squirmed on the second, and screamed on the third. I could barely look at the fourth and the fifth. I could see red fleshy pulp on his bottom. A crude doctor appeared, checked the miserable man, and then did the stupidest thing. He started pressing the man's bottom with his feet with all his weight on it.
I have never been more disgusted, not just at the inhuman treatment but also at the unfairness of it all.


However, Gen. Mush does not tell us all. He keeps some of his nation's secrets, just that way. While he mentions the secession of Pakistan's East wing, thanks to India's military aid, he conveniently forgets the horrific violence that the Pakistani Army had unleashed on the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan in 1970-71. This terror that continued for months and left millions dead and homeless, eventually led to the secession of the Eastern part to form a new nation, Bangladesh, in 1972.

He also does not tell us about the proxy war being carried out in Kashmir by terrorists trained in Pakistan or about the Agra summit that by virtue of being held pre 2001, had him singing a different tune. Mum is the word on how Pakistan's Intelligence Agency, the notorious Inter Services Intelligence or ISI that literally cut its teeth on training terrorists from the Soviet-US days in Afghanistan, became a mischief monger aiding and abetting terror outfits from Kashmir to Chenchnya. No Pervez Musharraf keeps the bad news under wraps. And sings paens to himself and his attempt to transform Pakistan into a modern state.

4 Comments:

Blogger oakleyses said...

oakley sunglasses, cheap ugg boots outlet, louis vuitton handbags, burberry outlet online, christian louboutin outlet, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, christian louboutin, jordan shoes, nike outlet, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, polo ralph lauren, michael kors outlet online, longchamp handbags, louis vuitton outlet online, michael kors outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, tiffany and co, ugg australia, nike air max, christian louboutin shoes, longchamp outlet, michael kors handbags, michael kors outlet store, louis vuitton outlet, oakley vault, michael kors outlet online sale, kate spade outlet online, burberry outlet online, nike free, ugg boots clearance, oakley sunglasses, red bottom shoes, louis vuitton outlet, chanel handbags, cheap oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet online, gucci handbags, ray ban outlet, cheap ugg boots, polo ralph lauren outlet, replica watches

11:18 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

north face pas cher, coach outlet store online, coach purses, ralph lauren uk, true religion outlet, burberry pas cher, north face, hollister uk, longchamp pas cher, coach outlet, mulberry uk, oakley pas cher, nike free, air max, air max pas cher, tn pas cher, kate spade outlet, ralph lauren pas cher, scarpe hogan, nike roshe run, nike free pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, lacoste pas cher, timberland pas cher, nike air max, louboutin, true religion jeans, ray ban uk, nike roshe, converse pas cher, air jordan, ray ban pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, hollister, hermes pas cher, nike air max, nike air force, michael kors uk, michael kors canada, guess pas cher, michael kors, new balance pas cher, coach outlet, longchamp, true religion outlet, true religion, lululemon outlet online, sac vanessa bruno, vans pas cher, michael kors outlet online

11:20 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

north face jackets, hollister clothing store, iphone 6s plus cases, insanity workout, iphone cases, nike air huarache, ghd, north face jackets, valentino shoes, vans outlet, soccer jerseys, birkin bag, wedding dresses, hollister, nike roshe, s6 cases, ralph lauren, abercrombie and fitch, iphone 5s cases, iphone 6 plus cases, oakley, herve leger, louboutin, lululemon outlet, reebok shoes, iphone 6 cases, new balance outlet, iphone 6s cases, jimmy choo shoes, bottega veneta, nike trainers, nfl jerseys, soccer shoes, nike air max, babyliss, timberland boots, mont blanc pens, asics shoes, celine handbags, longchamp, ferragamo shoes, ipad cases, beats headphones, mac cosmetics, baseball bats, p90x workout, instyler ionic styler, giuseppe zanotti, chi flat iron, mcm handbags

11:22 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

hollister canada, wedding dress, barbour, pandora jewelry, gucci, ugg, moncler, converse shoes, thomas sabo uk, montre femme, abercrombie, canada goose outlet, canada goose pas cher, air max, moncler, louis vuitton uk, juicy couture, swarovski jewelry, canada goose outlet, coach outlet, replica watches, supra shoes, louis vuitton pas cher, pandora jewelry, moncler outlet, barbour jackets, moncler, louis vuitton, marc jacobs handbags, moncler outlet, canada goose, ugg soldes, canada goose, canada goose, pandora charms, converse, moncler, canada goose, moncler, vans, pandora uk, sac louis vuitton, swarovski uk, karen millen, ray ban, doke gabbana outlet, canada goose outlet, ugg boots, uggs canada, links of london uk

11:24 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home