editor takes Musharraf to task
as a popular man, though a military dictator, who raised hopes with
his Kamal Ataturk rhetoric. Soon he allowed himself to be surrounded
by same old discredited corrupt politicians and their paid cronies
in the Establishment who led him to the garden path, says South
Asia Tribune Editor-in-Chief, Shaheen
Musharraf is a very unlucky man. The more he tries to
extricate himself from the densely clogged web of domestic and
regional hot wires, the more he sinks into the cesspool of
uncertainty, despair and hopelessness.
all of this can easily be traced to his sheer incompetence, his
bloated ego, pointless arrogance and needless bravado.
started off as a popular man, though a military dictator, who raised
hopes with his Kamal Ataturk rhetoric. Soon he allowed himself to be
surrounded by same old discredited corrupt politicians and their
paid cronies in the Establishment who led him to the garden path.
committed one blunder after another domestically and
internationally. First he threw away the Agra Summit with his macho,
commando style diplomacy, held his phony referendum and manipulated
the October elections. He did all this riding the tiger of his
nuclear deterrence to keep the Indians away from a military
was insulted by US President Bill Clinton but then came 9/11 and
Musharraf jumped on the Bush bandwagon, throwing out all his old
policies and positions one after another. The only factor which
helped him was his grip on his Army. Then he planned a systematic
purge of all those who could threaten him within the Army and
announced he would take off his uniform when everyone senior to him
had been packed home.
continuing and threatened purge resulted in serious attempts to
eliminate him physically, though Musharraf will never admit it could
have been an inside Army job. Al-Qaeda was a convenient suspect.
wasting 15 months, through sheer crookedness and arm-twisting, he
pulled some politicians on board to get a Parliamentary majority.
Then he came to the Parliament, sweated out his 15 minutes of infamy
and left thinking his troubles may be over. Not yet.
came the Western media blitz that Pakistan had been proliferating
nukes and even during Musharraf’s days shipments to Libya had been
detected. His nuclear deterrence had become an albatross around his
neck. Now he is doomed if he admits the blame and will be damned if
he does not.
one else, fortunately, can be held responsible for Musharraf’s
predicament. For the last 4 years he has been calling all the shots
so he must take all the blame. His so-called elected Prime Minister
has been too cunning with his folk wisdom – he never claimed to be
in charge and always addressed the boss with his real title.
has got into this box because he cannot think like a leader or a
visionary. All his advisers are either boneheads or pygmies who
cannot survive a day after Musharraf is gone. So their entire world
depends on Musharraf’s survival. Hence all their policies and
strategies are against those who could threaten Musharraf. In the
process if they have to compromise anything or everything to anybody
or everybody else in the world, they could care less.
is exactly what they have done. Unnecessary concessions and
compromises were made to the US, though the same friendly policies
could have been pursued with dignity, self-respect and a modicum of
the heat on Kashmir starting hurting, compromises were made without
even checking what had already been achieved in the past by
politicians, though discarded by Musharraf and his jackboots. Just
compare the Lahore Declaration with the Islamabad Declaration and
show us the difference. There is a “composite dialogue on all
issues” in the Lahore Declaration and that too without any promise
of stopping the Kashmiris from their struggle.
fact a “composite dialogue” had always been the Indian slogan
while we were always insisting the “Core Issue of Kashmir” must
be addressed first. So Musharraf, under pressure, had to throw away
the UN resolutions, the LoC ceasefire card, the numerous CBMs, just
to obtain what had already been conceded by Vajpayee in Lahore
without a heavy price. When personal friends like Income Tax expert
Tariq Aziz, with no diplomatic or international experience, conduct
such high level State negotiations, what else can be expected,
except a veiled surrender.
the most critical test has now come to a head with the nuclear
proliferation issue. Here again Musharraf is not using the
collective wisdom to meet a serious challenge to the entire nation.
He thinks he can handle this one alone and like all his previous
decisions, he will end up with the worst of both the worlds.
instead of taking a solid principled position on the issue, the
country’s top scientists have been made the scapegoat, insulted,
humiliated and dumped, forcing an spirited outcry on the streets. Is
this a dignified position? Can Musharraf get away with throwing mud
in everyone’s eyes? Will anyone agree with him that the Army was
not involved in the whole affair? The then Army Chief General Aslam
Beg is so nervous he is shouting from every roof top he is not
involved. Beg even said Benazir was responsible. How stupid he
thinks everybody is? Why can’t Beg be debriefed and asked some
has to come clean on this issue with a mature and dignified
position, putting the facts straight, admitting that the State knew
what was going on but had to look the other way as the country
needed a nuclear capability, by hook or by crook.
other country has done that, so what is wrong in admitting that
Pakistan too had used the black market. Has not India done it, or
did the US not send enriched Uranium to Iran, or were the Germans
and French not supplying nuclear parts to Israel, South Africa and
everybody who wanted them. What did Israel do to a whistle blower in
such forthright positions can be taken by leaders when they stand on
solid legitimate ground themselves, supported by the nation.
Musharraf’s weakness is that he lacks legitimacy and knows that.
So all he does is defensive in nature and self-protecting.
he had been the duly elected and recognized President of the country
and today the Parliament had adopted a unanimous resolution
supporting the country’s nuclear stand, Musharraf would not have
been hiding from his own shadow, fearing where the next bullet would
now he can go back to the people and retrieve the situation. He may
have to curb his ego but in Pakistan’s interest, it may not be a