(With reference to the story published in Tribune on January 3, 2011)
Gen Rtd Pervaiz Musharraf is a rather contentious character in the realm of Pakistan’s politics. Loathed in some fraternities he maybe, that too on highly conspicuous and somewhat compelling grounds but most obviously not utterly discarded or inglorious for that matter. Particularly illustrious for his battle-ground posture and odious denigration of his political counterparts, General Saab is especially adored in the circles of ‘youth’.
General Saab’s debut in the (already dubious) political panorama was fairly attention-grabbing, if not theatrical. I remember October 1st, the official inauguration of All Pakistan Muslim League in Islamabad. Insane security procedures, exceptionally earsplitting exhibit of nationalism on sky-high speakers by indigenously played and eternally looped ‘Hai Jazba Junoon’, gigantic billboards with flying eagles, the infamous slogan ‘Pakistan First’ and most absurdly and ultra-vigorously treated portraits of General Saab himself right next to the Quaid. Magnanimous arrangements were made for General Saab’s ‘Live from London’ address to his ‘madly in love’ supporters who apparently couldn’t stop chanting ‘Pakistan Zindabad, Musharraf Paindabad’. Enormous screens were strategically placed to ensure the impartial dissemination of ‘Honor’ of being the Great Leader’s audience.
Altogether, it was a ball!
Unpredictably, General Saab started the exceedingly anticipated address with a rather apologetic tone asking Nation’s pardon for certain political/administrative decisions that ‘caused them pain’ and were pioneer of factors in General Saab’s descent from fame.
General Saab’s maiden speech as the President of APML was rife with blunders. Letting it loose on PML-N, he resorted to extremely scurrilous and rather ‘under the belt’ attacks giving away the first of symptoms of ‘Siasatdaan Synrdome’ which was somewhat natural and not utterly unexpected. General Saab’s brave declaration of not being terrified by the media as he had ‘no dirty laundry to conceal’ brought up a deafening wave of chants from APML member’s aisle but somehow it only managed to obtain sarcastic and rather cynical mocks from the members of media present.
Let’s face it. Media fraternities hate ex-President General Pervaiz Musharraf.
Yes they do and for obvious reasons actually. Ironic really as General Saab did inseminate the magic beans of ‘free media’ that later spewed out of control to gigantic proportions, spreading precisely like Jack’s Beanstalk. Not to mention the acquirement of invaluable piece of land for ‘National Press Club’ in the Capital and the most colossal ‘Media Town’ for members, Press Unions were awarded most graciously in his era. But then came the age of confrontation and everything backfired!
It shouldn’t come across as a shocking fact if I say that supporting General Saab is considered somewhat of a ‘taboo’ in said sororities, pretty much like venturing on a cross-country road-trip in Vietnam, holding an enormous American flag.
But me? Being a staunch enthusiast of his rule, I refused to let one crazy-speech and a bunch of my colleague’s prickly remarks effect my affection for General Saab.
Mushy getting Pushy!
With the passing weeks, more faux pas were made. Starting with the infamous ‘aqal say farigh ul bal’ attack, General Saab unremittingly made every brash quip possible which seemingly grouped him with the ‘nutty old uncle’ category. But blaming mostly General Saab’s choice of words and his rather stern ‘Fauji Attidude’, I chose to observe only the iota of truth in his rather stumpy statements.
The faux pas then became serious blunders – publically affirming that ISI was involved in supporting and training ‘Kashmiri Mujahdeen’ was a shocker. Even though General Saab seemed to have forgotten the ‘Pakistan First’ rule, I refused to let it smash his rather dignified image.
But apparently the volley of his distasteful remarks had just started. General Saab asserted that he was not to blame for the execution of Akbar Bugti and that Frontier Corp carried out the operation. Admittedly, nurturing a private Army with Arms enough to take-over England, Bugti had it coming. But General Saab should have had the valor to rise above the petty political inclinations and to acknowledge the consequences of his actions. Whatever happened to ‘We will hit in such a way they wouldn’t even know what hit them’? Not so tough without the stars, are we?
For me General Saab’s image corroded a bit, but Nation has forgiven the politicians for so much more than a refuted statement, so for sure he deserved another chance!
Optimistically, with hopes up high, I waited for General Saab to come back in his element and to demonstrate political maturity and poise fitting for (Ex) COAS. He blamed the PML-Q leaders for NRO and I still kept my cool. I waited when General Saab went utterly bonkers spilling beans on an Indian National TV, saying that he should have stayed COAS for another 5 years. I waited when General Saab most expediently ignored the summons issued by SHC and got himself officially declared as ‘absconder’.
As unfortunate it all may seem, it’s indubitably not unheard of. Our ruling politicians have perhaps committed heaps of such transgressions and still are distinguished as the saviors and redeemers of ‘democracy.’
What exactly ticked me off?
The honor was done by General Saab’s most recent of affirmations and I quote
“Many parties want to be with us. But I want my party to get a simple majority in the next elections so that we do not have to rely on others.”
General Saab desires to rule with ‘simple majority’ in a country where half of the populace holds him responsible for assassination of Benazir and the other half traces back the roots of terrorism and suicide bombings to ‘Laal Masjid’ fiasco? Where one of the few highly influential Tribal Leaders has offered a Billion in cash for General Saab’s head? He’s essentially planning to rule a country with ‘Simple Majority’ where he’s officially been declared as an absconder? The country he said ‘Good Bye and Good Luck’ to on the National Television?
What further evidence does one need to observe that General Saab has gone completely cuckoo? All those years of dictation finally caught up, a colossal waste I must say.
General Saab now as ‘mentally challenged’ you are I vastly doubt that ‘votes’ would get you anywhere. I offer my most heartfelt and utterly sincere sympathies. May God Almighty grant your loved ones the audacity and courage to endure and withstand these toughest of times with you.