WASHINGTON DC, October 10, 2004 | ISSN: 1684-2057 | www.satribune.com

The First Book based on Articles and Forum Discussions of South Asia Tribune has been published in Pakistan. It is a compilation of articles written for the SAT by Dr. Zafar Altaf, former Federal Secretary and Ex-Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board. It includes most of the Messages and Comments posted on these articles on SAT Forums. The Book will soon be available through the Internet Book outlets. It is already on sale in Pakistan.


When Musharraf Opens His Mouth, Only Fools Won't Believe Him

By Shaheen Sehbai

WASHINGTON, October 10: When General Pervez Musharraf opens his mouth these days, he is compelled by his inner fear, insecurity or contradictions, or all of these, to speak in terms of superlatives.

Nothing that he says or does is less than the best, of the highest caliber, of unprecedented worth, of unmatched quality, top of the class and state of the art.

In short, in his effort to look and prove himself to be right, successful and in control, specially when traveling abroad, Musharraf loses the sense of reason and balance. That makes him look more vulnerable and insecure. Often his own arguments are at odds with what he is trying to prove. But he either does not realize or does not care.

A few examples will prove this. In recent days and weeks Musharraf has been saying the following:

- Pakistan is today out of the minefield of troubles it faced until a few years ago (Amsterdam, Sept 26, Daily Dawn).

Yet: He wants the Pakistani Parliament to authorize him to stay as Army Chief because otherwise things would get out of his control.

- Democracy is functioning fully in the country with elected representatives sitting in the National Assembly and provincial assemblies (Address to joint session of Parliament in The Hague, Sept 27, APP)

Yet: What these elected representatives do is to pass resolutions and bills asking the military to stay in power.

- I would like to ask the world to look at the state of democracy in Pakistan and what I have done for democracy in Pakistan. I think we have introduced sustainable democracy in Pakistan. (Addressing a news conference at UN, Sept 23, The News)

Yet: To sustain his ‘sustainable democracy’ he has to wear his military uniform, authorized by a ‘Democratic Parliament’ which passes an self-destructing bill declaring that it was impotent, and will not survive unless the President it has chosen wears a commando outfit.

- Why can’t I keep my uniform when Charles de Gaulle could stay in uniform and still France was called a democracy (NYT Interview)

Yet: He does not know, or remember, that De Gaulle also held a referendum and when he lost, he resigned and quit and went away for years to be called back by his people.

- Whether I stay in uniform has nothing to do with democracy, It’s only the Western media, which is attaching, linking my uniform with democracy. I have not made a final decision about whether to stay on as military chief. . (Interview with Washington Post, , Sept 17)

Yet: He thinks he can insult the intelligence of every one and always get away with it.

- My government has effectively defused misperceptions about cross-border terrorism in Kashmir, happenings in Afghanistan and nuclear proliferation. (Daily Dawn, Sept 26)

Yet: The tone and tenor of statements from India remains unchanged, Afghan Opposition blames Pakistan for interference as before and John Kerry and George Bush say Nuclear Non-Proliferation would be their No 1 target, meaning Pakistan and Dr. AQ Khan.

- My meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York was positive and a victory for peace (Addressing Pakistanis in Amsterdam, Sept 26)

Yet: Despite the victory for peace, movement towards peace is in the reverse direction.

- No, not at all. There’s no pressure on us whatsoever (about capturing Osama). And how can there be pressure on us? What pressure? We are operating with all our might, with all our forces. We are suffering casualties. My life has been in danger. So what are we talking? What more can be done?" (Interview with Paula Zahn of CNN, Sept 25).

Yet: In New York George Bush and Musharraf talk mainly about Osama, possibly his delivery before the Nov 2 poll.

- I have no doubt in my mind that we would eliminate terrorism or terrorists from Pakistan. (Interview with Paula Zahn of CNN, Sept 25)

Yet: The more he fights it, the more terrorism spreads within the country, forcing him to declare that he cannot trust anyone else to fight terrorism as Army Chief.

- It is unacceptable that some organizations call themselves as Sipahs, Jaishs or Lashkars. Only Armed Forces of Pakistan are Lashkars of the country. (Addressing an international inter-religious conference in Islamabad, Sept 16, The News)

Yet: All the Sipahs and Jaish’s and Lashkars have lived and thrived under his watch for years, sometimes surviving and growing just be changing their name because that name was put on one list or another. And he thinks this tinkering has fooled the rest of the world.

- How can a conflict on which we have fought wars be the solution tomorrow. (LoC as border) And that is absolutely ridiculous. Can’t be (possible). (Addressing a news conference at the UN, Sept 23).

Yet: When TIME Magazine reveals some small give and take on re-drawing of LoC as the permanent border between Musharraf and Manmohan Singh, the meeting is called a ‘victory for peace’.

- Corruption at the higher levels has almost disappeared because a strong accountability mechanism was able to secure successful conviction of several hundred politicians, senior bureaucrats and businessmen who were previously considered untouchable. (Addressing Italian businessmen in Rome, Sept 28, Dawn)

Yet: Scandals of billions keep rolling out of the corridors of his government, revealed mainly by the small fish which were eaten in his stinky pond by bigger fish. Some names: Dr Nasim Ashraf ($37 million), Faisal Saleh Hayat- Choudhry Shujaat feud over FIA (hundreds of millions), Husnain Construction Company (Millions upon million), Shaukat Aziz’s handing over of United Bank to his Citibank clients (billions), Privatization of Habib Bank (more billions), Sale of Roosevelt Hotel (millions of dollars in the making), lands, plots for Generals (millions).

- Don’t believe me, come to Pakistan and see what the ground realities are. (Addressing Dutch businessmen at a dinner reception hosted by Netherlands leading bank ABN-Amro, Sept 27, Daily Times).

Yet: No serious investor wants to land in Pakistan with his money. Yes those who are offered free rides and free assets like banks and PIA and Steel Mills are waiting in a long queue for their turn.

- In the last five years, through economic and administrative reforms we have been able to almost root out corruption at the high level and improvement in governance. (Addressing Italians, Sept 28)

Yet: He adds after the microphones are switched off: Please note I have used the word “Almost” so don’t take this statement seriously.

- I`m sorry, I don`t want to boast about myself but there is a renaissance, there is a big change we are trying to bring about." (NYT Interview, Sept 21)

Yet: The renaissance that has been witnessed by every one was within his Army as all those who brought, or kept, him in power were thrown out of uniform but will now be waiting for big rewards, civilian jobs, corporate CEO chairs, big budgets, donor dollars, grabbed lands, free golf and the works.

- How sweet that George W. Bush fights terrorism, of the Al-Qaeda kind, by forcibly introducing democracy into Iraq and Afghanistan but I am fighting the same enemy by keeping democracy away from my own people, for as long as I can. And George Bush says I am doing a great job.

- Yet: I don’t know what will happen if he loses in November.

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