Opposition to Stop Vacillating on How to Deal With Musharraf
Wajid Shamsul Hasan
June 27: Military rulers have, since Pakistan became an independent
state, preferred to survive through the Goebbellian art of imposing
lies on the Pakistani people and adopting an ostrich-like mind
set to deceive themselves.
they believe that power flows from the barrel of the gun, they
look for legitimacy abroad with their foreign masters rather than
their own people. Without having that stature, they have a tendency
to masquerade as Asian De Gaulles. However, at the end of the
road, it is Pakistan and its people that have suffered.
General Yahya's Pakistan was described by the Western media as
a country run by pimps and prostitutes. Pakistan envisaged by
its founding fathers as a secular, progressive democracy was plunged
into an inferno of Talibanisation, heroin and Kalashnikov cultures
by General Zia. It continues to reap the bitter harvest of the
seeds of sectarianism and ethnicity sowed by him.
our times of the great conqueror General Perez Musharraf, Pakistan
has acquired a three-dimensional image of Yahya Khan-1 (YK1),
worst of the evils that Zia had bequeathed to the nation as his
surviving legacy and combination of the two plus his own contribution
that has made Pakistan the epicenter of global terrorism, most
militarized state, criminalized the entire society, put it in
the grip of land grabbers' mafia with generals, their kith and
kin leading them all.
Hobbes's description suits Musharraf's Pakistan. He has rendered
life of our men and women, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and
short. Never before in the history of Pakistan so many rapes of
innocent women were committed every day, never before law courts
and law-enforcing agencies were either so helpless or in connivance
with the criminals as now.
before so many jobless people sought refuge from their miseries
in suicides as under Musharraf's Pakistan. To rub salt into nation's
injuries, he calls his bloody, ruthless and lawless reign as "enlightened
to successive military rulers and their anti-people policies Pakistan
has acquired a vicious global image. Whatever be Musharraf's claims
its very existence is suspect for its continued patronage to terrorism,
involvement in proliferation of nuclear arms, drug trade and distortion
of Mr Jinnah's secularly democratic Pakistan into a hydra-headed
monster that tolerates no dissent, has no room for liberalism
and where even there is no premium on peaceful co-existence among
and women have to live in fear of oppressive and selective state
application of laws pertaining to blasphemy and male victimization
of female population.
image-wise Pakistan has come to such a deplorable pass that it
is even bothering the man who would not be able to wash off his
own sins with entire perfumery of the world.
among the chattering classes for his amusing life style as YK2,
Pakistan's generalissimo is desperate in giving a 'soft' image
to Pakistan not by improving the quality of life for its people
but by denying them international exposure. If he could have his
ways, he would have preferred to erect an iron curtain around
he cannot have that, he has chosen as a first measure, to stop
travel abroad especially to the United States, of that brave lady
Mukhtaran Bibi, a victim of gang rape and later government kidnapping,
ban on travel abroad and other usual harassments. Musharraf, representing
a perverted mind set, in the words of Nicholas D. Kristof, is
rather defensive about Pakistan's image. He shows preference to
cover up brutality rather than taking concrete and effective measures
to uproot it.
the question of Pakistan's image and as a consequence of it treatment
of Pakistanis as suspects the very moment they step out side their
country is a constant source of irritancy and worry to those who
still take pride in the higher ideals of liberalism and egalitarianism
for which it had come into being.
is a considered view of the Pakistani liberal intellectuals and
academics that a ban on travel of victims of gang rape does not
offer a solution for image-improvement. Time has come for the
nation and the military establishment to get to the bottom of
the problem. Our image as a worst
truant in the community of nations is not only because of growing
number of rapes but because of our failure to respond to such
horrific crimes in a manner that would minimize them.
for that, we will have to resolve the much larger question about
our existence itself. Pakistan is bursting at its seams because
its ruling elite especially from amongst the over bearing, oppressive
and possessive military establishment, have betrayed the democratic
and secular ideals that the country was created for.
am sure a truthful Mukhtaran Mai, if allowed to go abroad, would
be a better representative of Pakistan than General Pervez Musharraf
who has done immense harm by disclosing it to the foreign media
in Australia that it was he who had ordered to ban travel abroad
for Mukhtaran Mai since he feared she would foul mouth Pakistan
and further tarnish the country's image, particularly in the United
States from where he receives most of his support to perpetuate
his illegitimate hold on power.
needs to be told that it is not Mukhtaran Mai who would bring
notoriety to Pakistan but it is he who has done the most damage
to the country's image abroad by denying its people their democratic
rights, by clandestinely supporting terrorists and by letting
them use Pakistan as epicenter of global terrorism.
a sorry figure Pakistan was reduced to in Auckland when its commando
president did not have the courage to face the media and had to
cancel his pre-scheduled interviews at the last minute. The interviews
were scheduled for Radio New Zealand's 'Nine to Noon'
and the TV One program 'Agenda'.
embarrassing it was for Pakistan when 'Agenda' producer Richard
Harman later disclosed to his media colleagues that no explanation
was given for the cancellation of the interview. However, a New
Zealand Foreign Affairs spokesman claimed that the decision to
cancel the interviews was made by Pakistani authorities
Other media questions planned were related to restoration of genuine
democracy through free and transparent elections and return of
Pakistan's only leader of international standing Ms Benazir Bhutto.
"They were all ready with grinded knives to make mince meat
of his claim of being the champion of enlightened moderation in
Pakistan where he was running the affairs of the state with a
whip," disclosed an Auckland media source.
Mukhtaran Mai's solemn commitment that she would be the last person
to foul mouth Pakistan abroad especially in the United States
where she is invited by several NGOs, the fate of her travel abroad
remains a question mark.
against Musharraf's contention that her visit will further tarnish
Pakistan's image, pamphlets are doing the rounds in Islamabad
that many thousand of such rape cases cannot harm as much of country's
image as the rape of Pakistan's constitution by the General which
entitles him to be tried for treason and be given death sentence.
"Musharraf being a hard nut to crack, would not listen to
de marches such as made by Condy Rice once he has taken up a stand.
He knows that notwithstanding her distaste of his actions, Bush
would ensure that she gets to keep her mouth shut since his relations
with the general are much more intimate and many Mukhtaran Mais
can be sacrificed to keep him happy", disclosed a source
from the Pakistan Foreign Office in Islamabad.
While we do not know yet whether Mukhtaran Mai will be allowed
to travel abroad or not, Musharraf junta continues to be at it
on the domestic political front. Its wired pen pushers are busy
spinning the yarn about the possibilities of it arriving at a
deal with PPP.
however, has dismissed the planted stories of fresh contacts with
the government as regime's persistent disinformation campaign.
According to PPP no fresh contacts had taken place between the
PPP and the regime after talks broke down when the regime made
an aborted attempt to take over the leadership of the party from
Senator Farhatullah Babar expressed these views in response to
the press reports that the government had made some fresh proposals
to the PPP. There had been no further contacts after PPP had rejected
regime's proposal for abdication of party leadership by Ms Bhutto
besides not returning the country even after the next general
elections and to accept the 17th constitutional amendments.
are absolutely right in believing that Musharraf's primary objective
is to eliminate Ms Bhutto's leadership one way or the other, through
political means or by persecution. There has been no let up in
this twin-strategy and the victimization of the party and its
leaders continues much more venomously and rigorously than ever
a consequence of this approach regime's lawyers in Geneva are
insisting that ex-Senator Asif Ali Zardari personally appear before
the investigators next month knowing full well that doctors have
advised him complete rest and travel and stress can endanger his
manner in which Zahid Bhurgury MPA Sindh was arrested, hooded
and handcuffed and other PPP parliamentarians harassed shows to
what extent Musharraf can distort and disfigure his so-called
the fact Musharraf's Western mentors knowing well that his days
are numbered and that they would like to see democracy return
through transparent elections while he is still there to save
Pakistan an upheaval of internal turmoil and take over by the
extremists, they have been trying to promote the need for some
sort of understanding between political forces and the regime.
it is obvious that these overtures cannot succeed in the conditions
of hostility pursued by the regime. "Such reports are fed
by the regime to confuse the people and cause a division in the
ranks of ARD," says PPP Spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar.
He said that neither Ms Bhutto nor the PPP was mulling over any
so-called offer to join the helpless government that had no powers
to help the people of Pakistan.
According to him the establishment thinks that it can blackmail
Benazir Bhutto into accepting General Musharraf and abdicating
party leadership by flaunting the fabricated cases against her
based on false allegations leveled by the rulers in Islamabad
before authorities in Geneva that had already been disproved in
Pakistan's highest court.
the regime keeps feeding stories to the press that a deal is on
the anvil with the PPP. It has done this since 2000 to give the
impression of lowering political tensions at home and to satisfy
the concern of those who are worried that a political vacuum is
adding strength to the religious parties that already owe it all
the light of vicious machinations and Musharraf's Machiavellian
politics of one-step forward, two steps backward, analysts feel
that time is ripening in Pakistan when the political leadership
shall have to decide to have it out with Musharraf a do-or-die
they waste any more time in vacillating then matters would go
out of their hands and the torch will pass then into the hands
of the masses who will prefer to sort it out fighting one day
rather committing suicides every day for want of jobs, food for
their children, medicine for the sick and respectable way of life.
writer is a former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK