Thursday, October 14, 2010



by Afzal Khan

Nearly three years ago, Musharraf peeled off what he would boastfully describe as his 'second skin"; which he used to scare his people into subjugation for eight years.
Bereft of his armoured clothes, the people discovered the king had no clothes and threw him out of power within three months, at the first opportunity they got at the ballot [which he failed to manipulate the way he had visualized].

Last Friday the leopard had new clothes masquerading as a democrat. Once again he was promising to be a reincarnated 'saviour' claiming that his blighted nation one more time needs him to "lighten" the dark horizon [to which he and his successors had fated it all these years].
In London and next day in Birmingham he exposed his real self spitting filth and muck against the opponents in bizarre language that he tried in vain to disguise as wit and humour.

It was a rude reminder that even after eight years in unbridled power and two in exile, the man can be anything but a politician. In fact his two appearances in two days in a bid to stage a comeback in national life are marked by some peculiar features. Initially it was billed as the day of launching a new political party. It then transpired that he was only "joining" the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) which had already been (secretly) formed at some unknown place and time.

The hierarchy of the leadership of the party has yet to be announced. Barring discarded people the likes of Sher Afgan or a
couple of cronies, hardly any political figure of consequence were present on the occasion. The ex-dictator is relying on dubious allegiance to his face book audience mainly from amongst expatriates. He is eyeing to attract some of those whom he had bestowed favours while in power or who could be lured by enormous funds he has stacked while in power. He is also banking on snatching the MQM leadership from Altaf Hussain who appears to be in dire straits and losing grip of the party in the aftermath of assassination of Imran Farooq.

A few weeks ago Musharraf invited a band of former ministers and leaders of PMl-Q to Dubai where he expressed his desire to land at one of the three main airports of the country provided at least one lakh people received him. One participant later told him he has his doubt about the number of individuals among in the Dubai meeting who would themselves be present there.

He says he fears nobody, not even the truth. But the commando is and has been at heart a coward, deceitful and treacherous with no sense of loyalty. Once he said he is neither Ayub Khan nor Zia-ul- Haq (indeed he was not as handsome as Ayub and as comely as Zia). But he aped both of them in every way while in power. Like them he told lies and broke every promise he made ranging from 3-year undertaking to a pliant Supreme Court to doffing his uniform.

Besides fathering the Muslim League through ISI, he also fostered religious alliance MMA giving it free hand at stumps to seize control of two provinces at the cost of PPP and PML-N by banishing their popular leaders and hounding followers through NAB. Like them he held fraudulent uncontested referendum (which he himself termed as "catastrophic") to secure a five-year presidential term under a drastically amended constitution providing for an extended period of authoritarian one-man rule. He introduced a system of diarchy under which only "responsibility" was transferred to the Prime Minister while himself wielding all power without being responsive to anybody. Unfortunately, like many other Musharraf legacies, Mr. Asif Zardari has also opted for the same system.

Next time for another term he bargained with Ms. Benazir Bhutto by agreeing to the infamous NRO that pardoned corruption in return for facilitation at presidential election in October 2007. Though he felt no compunction in shuffling three prime ministers within three years, he sustained the hoax of letting the assembly "complete its term", because only in this was he guaranteed his election, by an already existing manipulated majority. He also sought to keep his handpicked parties in power in general elections by shutting both popular leaders, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, out of the country.

In London he asserted that he was laying out its 'programme and vision' that pledges to restore the country to "unity, prosperity and growth". He compared the performance of his regime at the time of the 2005 earthquake to the inept handling of the devastating floods by the present "dysfunctional" government. "Apr├Ęs moi le deluge," (after me the deluge) Musharraf seemed to be telling his country. He is hoping for the moment when things become worse to the extent the people begin to think about him.

Both events were held abroad as the man could not pick up courage to be amongst his countrymen at home whom he aspired to rule again. That speaks of volumes for the hollowness of the repeated claims that he would soon be back. It was testimony to the stark reality that the dictator has no place in the land he had brutalized, bludgeoned, divided and, in the ultimate analysis, even impoverished. While many retired generals have, in the past, tried their luck in politics and failed, Musharraf's is the rare instance of a military dictator bidding for a second term, this time in civvies.

During past few days Musharraf has triggered several controversies. His suggestion for military's constitutional role smacks of a secret desire to regain sympathy and support in that institution. He has chosen the party symbol a martial-looking falcon to underpin this hidden craving. "We cannot allow Pakistan to disintegrate. So who is the saviour? The army can do it. Nobody else can do it." He does not realize that one great and welcome contribution he made was to discredit the army rule for ever.
The dictator sought "forgiveness" of his people in a perfunctory general way without any sign of remorse for whatever he had done. His self-righteousness is legion. In his book he faulted everybody who came in contact with him without admitting a single mistake of his own. The "apology" was more of a self-serving platitude and shameless assertion than any sincere admission."Only God is infallible", he said.

He refers to "mistakes" but what he actually committed were atrocious unpardonable crimes against this nation and its leaders for which he must be brought back to Pakistan, put on trial and made to expiate. The army chief and Mr. Asif Zardari let him go unscathed for personal reasons and even gave him guard of honour. They had no right to do that because he was guilty of crimes against the nation and its leaders. He committed treason by subverting the constitution twice, purging judiciary, imprisoning judges and their families, closing TV channels and unleashing state terror on peaceful protesters.
Source: Wichaar
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