and the Business of Getting Raped
Wajid Shamsul Hasan
September 19: Pakistan's commando president General Pervez Musharraf
has ceased to enjoy the concession often extended to him that
most of his off-the-cuff utterances do not mean what he says since
he is a military man and all men in uniform are not gifted with
virtues of wisdom. Since they belong to the trigger-happy clan
of sons-of-a-gun, they believe that their might is right.
top of many issues of national importance that form the much ambitious
agenda taken upon by him to seek, is to paint "softer"
image of Pakistan so that the world has a better and more positive
view of a country run by a military dictator. One cannot blame
him for it since slang is the normal lexicon with the soldiers,
perhaps he cannot grasp the difference between softer image and
soft porn and has got mixed up with it as shown by his defence
of the rape of Mukhtaran Mai.
short, in his interview to Washington Post, he justified
as to how and why Pakistan under his so-called rule of "enlightened
moderation" has become "Rapistan" where a woman
is raped every two-and-half hour -- described by him as the on-going
lucrative business among Pakistani women to seek "Canadian
passport" and to make money. Thank Allah for His generous
mercies, that our Don Quixote spared some respect for our female
folk by not putting it bluntly that they enjoy "it"
add insult and injury to the national honor, his propagandists
claim that traumatic victims such as Mukhtaran Mai, Dr Shazia
Khalid and Sonia Naz, who have bravely dared to expose the rapacious
crime against female dignity, are nothing but pawns in the hands
of NGOs with foreign links who allegedly receive enormous funds
from abroad and quite a few of them are accused to be working
for the "enemies" of Pakistan to give the country a
in this allegation, either direct or indirect, inference was towards
the so-called "Hunood-and-Yahud" (Hindu-Jewish)
conspiracy. Now the government sponsored "Hunood-and-Yahud"
inference orchestration will go out of fashion since the General
is out there, hands folded on bended knees, tooth-paste ad smile
running berserk on his face, seeking good relations with India
and Israel at all costs and mostly for his personal gains.
must have understood the message latent in President Bush's special
praise for India in his UN address while there was no mention
of the country that has become the front line state for American
war of terror under its Knight Templar. He had sanguine reasons
to go out of the way to grab the "historic" handshake
opportunity with Israeli Prime Minister Aerial Sharon since he
has the key to many vitally important doors in Washington.
General also explained to Washington Post it was vital
for both national and international interests not to denude himself
of his Khaki. It facilitated him in successfully conducting the
affairs of the state and that "he had not ruled out keeping
it on past 2007".
a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement that "a president cannot
be a president in uniform, and should not be", he said his
keeping it on was imperative for meeting challenges of both domestic
and international environment confronting Pakistan. Ominous conditions
such as that within and outside Pakistan dictate that: "I
keep it on until 2007 ... the regional and international environment
demands that I keep it on. So why should I be bothered to remove
it was of least concern for him that the majority of the people
in Pakistan wanted to see him without his uniform, what mattered
most with him was what Bush Sahib wanted of him. The man whose
uniform prior to 9/11 had made him a pariah military dictator,
boasted openly that never in any of his meetings, private or official,
President Bush on any occasion asked to see him without his Khaki.
am sure the man in White House allegedly and reputedly fighting
a life-long battle with ignorance, has enough of Texan wisdom
not to demand of his man Friday to be without clothes when it
is known all over that Khaki to him is like hair were to Samson.
His critics at home have corrected the impression that he had
an insatiable lust for the office of the Presidency. They are
now convinced that given a choice between the Presidency and Chief
Of Army Staff his preference would be for the latter. He will
like to have the cake and eat it too, best of the two worlds and
make most of it while the sun of absolute power shines on him.
back to Musharraf's "Rapistan", I agree with the vast
public reaction in Pakistan to his Washington Post interview
that whatever the General said about getting raped is a most brazen
and sickening manifestation of a degenerated male mind. Musharraf
told WP correspondent: 'You must understand the environment in
Pakistan. This (rape) has become a money making concern. A lot
of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada
and citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.'
the WP interview many innocent, naive Pakistanis and columnists
have asked the question why General Musharraf thought it fit to
make such a horrendous statement. They must realize that it is
typical of the Praetorian mind set. Musharraf's explanation reminds
me of late General "Tiger" Niazi who broke all previous
records in genocide and massive rapes in erstwhile East Pakistan.
He indulged, patronized, encouraged and defended rape of Muslim
women (since majority of people in East Pakistan were more religious
Muslims than their West Pakistani counterparts) with the view
to changing the ethnic complexion of the population.
is part of the method in the madness that military dictators employ
to terrorize and subdue the civil population. Remember General
Zia's time when tik-tikis, a wooden structure raised
from ground to expose the posterior of a man to be administered
lashes in public. To make its impact more gruesomely effective,
whipping was done in a public place-mostly in sports stadiums.
Besides public lashing to thousands of political dissidents, General
Zia also indulged in execution by hanging to mute democratic voices.
present General, more of a macho man popularly described by his
critics as YK2 (Yahya Khan 2), has sent his spine-chilling message
to every home in Pakistan that he has given carte blanche for
the rape of women in Pakistan.
Although under tremendous international pressure, the General
has tried to go back on his words and blamed the Washington
Post, his supporters cannot describe such horrific and sadist
utterances as slip of his tongue. Instead of sympathizing with
the rape victims and leaving no stone unturned to provide them
justice, he has been going out of the way to prove that they themselves
were the villains of the sordid piece.
before investigations are started in rape cases, the rapists are
given a clean bill of health. Not only in Mukhtaran Mai's case
who was stopped traveling abroad by Musharraf himself since he
feared that she would bad mouth Pakistan in foreign lands, he
showed indecent haste to rush to issue a public statement in Dr
Shazia Khalid's rape case where an army Captain Hammad was allegedly
the principal accused. The General said he was sure the accused
was innocent. He had subverted and jackbooted justice by declaring
Hammad above board even before investigations could start.
Gang-rapes, parading of women in the nude in public and increasing
number of karo-kari cases spread like epidemics during
military rule when the dictators talk of good governance but practically
do the opposite.
reason being very simple. Military rule provide all sort of feudal,
lustful and excessive privileges to its personnel and to its civilian
collaborators, including police, since it is the two that have
to play the tango while the country and its people suffer.
since dictators are not accountable to any one, it is the free
for all sponsored by them that becomes the order of the day. Sonia
Naz's case highlights over indulgence of police personnel in heinous
crimes including rape. It is a sordid story of rape and extortion
by a police officer that is protected by the high ups in Musharraf
regime and it shows what happens to a society where poachers become
Pakistan had never sunk so low morally as now. The deepening apathy,
social degeneration and decadence, breakdown of law and order
machinery, all are sure signs of a state tethering on the verge
of collapse. And with rulers like Musharraf around any longer,
it could, may Allah forbid, mean swan song for Pakistan.
writer is a former High Commissioner of Pakistan to UK