WASHINGTON DC, July 1, 2005 | ISSN: 1684-2057 | www.satribune.com

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Leading lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan accompanies Mai to the Supreme Court in Islamabad

After So Many Goof-Ups Can We Trust the Judgment of General Musharraf

By Nighat Yasmeen

SARGODHA, Pakistan, July 1: It would be an entirely superfluous endeavor to discuss adding poor Mukhtaran Mai’s name on the notorious “Exit Control List”, restricting her movement, taking away her passport, crudely gagging her and idiotically barring her from proceeding abroad, according to moral and legal norms. Because, talking about morality, legalities and justice with our incumbent rulers would be like asking stones to shed tears.

This episode is not only outrageous and a sheer PR-disaster, it contains within terrifying long-term consequences for the country. Beyond ordinary human rights issues, there are a several more intriguing aspects needed to be looked into. Thus, let’s set aside all demands for propriety, turn a blind eye to even basic most ethics for the sake of simplicity, keep it strictly confined to non-normative precincts and dilate upon it through pragmatic lenses alone.

The manner in which a very simple, unnecessary issue had been handled, sorry mishandled, right from the top most office-holder down to foot soldiers, makes your skin crawl. Sure, disgusting it was to observe the grisly treatment meted out to a hapless but pretty sensible woman, actually much more disturbing was to discern the total lack of analytical prowess of our rulers. If positive publicity and preventing bad image for Pakistan was Mr Musharraf's goal, he could not have chosen a worse strategy.

Observe, now everyone is not just condemning Musharraf for this idiocy, but also badmouthing Pakistan with an intensity seldom seen before. A lot more worrisome side-effect is that an increasing number of influential writers are also questioning Pakistan’s record on assorted fronts not even remotely related to this issue. From AQ affair to insurgency in Kashmir, anti-terrorism drive along Afghan border, we are being scrutinized as never before.

For what? Only because of one man’s high handedness, his total intellectual bankruptcy and his awful supporters and advisers.

"Leave it to me and I will not let Pakistan surrender to the US or India," General Pervez Musharraf pledged to Kashmiri leaders in a briefing in Rawalpindi recently. Likewise, when asked last year if the world would pardon Dr Khan as he had done, the General said: "Leave it to me. I am standing between Dr Khan and the world community. Nothing will happen to him."

The very pertinent question, we must ask today: Can this man be trusted? His honesty has already been witnessed on a number of times – may it be pledge not to perpetuate himself to not holding a bogus referendum to doffing his uniform. His values and patriotism have we already observed umpteen times – from the quality and quantity of his ministers to the dismal performance of NAB to orchestrating the complete rupture of judiciary and other civil institutions.

If there was any doubt left in any respect, the recent display of his superb administrative skills and palpable mental insanity has shattered that one too.

To tell the truth, instead of a seasoned statesman, he behaves more like a half-mad janitor. He does not allow some Pakistani citizens to enter the country, an unambiguous ruling from the Supreme Court of Pakistan notwithstanding. To some he does not allow to leave no matter if not accused of even jumping the red light at traffic crossing. It vividly shows why and how he will end up damaging Pakistan’s interest while trying to do exactly the opposite. It is all so depressing.

Do we afford this one-man spoof as a nation state? Some collective soul-searching would be well advised.

The chain of events makes one shudder. Taken together that it all reportedly started with an ex-army chief, currently posted as Pakistan’s envoy to Washington, ordering the Foreign Office in Islamabad to stop Mukhtaran Mai coming to the United States, it is hard not to marvel about the mental and moral horizon of our star officers. In particular, when the general-ambassador in question was projected as “intellectual general” during his tenure.

I can bet 90 per cent rickshaw drivers plying the roads of Pakistan would have shown better judgment in analogous circumstances than the infinite wisdom of two consecutive Chiefs of Army Staff put together – without ever crossing the well-guarded gates of fabulous Staff College.

The book Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry by John E. O'Neill and Jerome R. Corsi, which claimed Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry lied to get his Vietnam medals, is widely held to have damaged the Massachusetts senator's campaign. In due course, a possible future book, Mukhtaran Mai: Exposing a Tin-pot Dictator & His Perverted Moderation, will cost Musharraf his uniform as well as his presidency.

Apropos the legendary valor and celebrated steadfastness of our commando savior, it would be interesting to mention that a call of PA to Under Secretary, South Asia at the State Department was enough to make him take another U-turn, yet again - in supreme national interests. Past a general-salute to Daddy Bush on video telephone, travel restrictions on Mukhtaran were instantly lifted, her passport promptly delivered back.

A commander with this analytical prowess and moral values, would be a danger not only to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan but also to entire South Asia, if not beyond. Entrusting him nuclear weapons on one hand and leaving the fate of 160 million in his hands on the other is nothing less than a suicide attempt. Interestingly suicide attempt is also cognizable offence in Pakistan, the land of the pure.

Mr Musharraf and his uniformed colleagues seem to have some obnoxious fetish taking the rape victims off the screen and let the rapists roam free. In Dr. Shazia case too, the principal accused were giving TV interviews, the victim was under protective custody.

The writer is the famous hard-hitting housewife from Sargodha. Some of her writings are:

If Army acts like a Political Party, why not a Forward Bloc in it

Some Burning Questions in Need of Urgent Answers

A Housewife's Open Letter to Pakistan's Chief Justice

Sharifuddin Pirzada: Administering Miscarriage of Justice for Decades

Gory Tale of How Top Army Generals Have Let Us Down

Now Even Banana Republics are Looking Better Than Pakistan

Why Can't Musharraf Trust His Own Well Qualified Generals of the Army

A Housewife's Evaluation of Pakistan Army's Top Command Structure

The Infamous List of Actions Belying Musharraf's 'Enlightened Moderation'

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