An inauspicious beginning - Kamran Shafi - October 5, 2010

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WHILST all the news about the Commando`s `entry` into politics should be relegated to the footnotes of a scrapbook on the doings of dictators, which should then be thrown on to the dung-heap of history, his disgraceful conduct in Birmingham whilst launching his `political party` needs to be written about, if only to remind people that there are no surprises here.

That this is the person we knew for close on nine years, in which time we became used to his mouth running away with him every second day. So, before we consider his latest discourtesy, it would do us well to look at some of what he said while he was `president` of this luckless country. Washington Post

On the Mukhtaran Mai issue, and on the incidents of rape in Pakistan, Musharraf said in an interview to the , given in New York when he was there on one of his annual jaunts to attend the UN General Assembly: “You must understand the environment in Pakistan. This has become a money-making concern. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.” WP`s The Post`s

I now quote verbatim from the editorial, titled `Gen Musharraf`s lies` of Oct 1, 2005 and published after Musharraf denied he had said any such thing: “When Gen Musharraf`s statement provoked an uproar, he responded with another lie: He claimed that he had never made it. In fact, a recording of him speaking is available on website, His words are quite clear. `These are not my words, and I would go to the extent of saying I am not so silly and stupid to make comments of this sort,` the general said. Well, yes, he is.”

Need one say more about a man who was referred to in such terms by one of the leading newspapers in the world? Yes one must, to further make the point that whilst it is certain that he will not return to the country in a hurry let alone successfully fight an election and become prime minister, he has fatally flawed characteristics, and is an almost-adolescent unfit for public office. “I will have the last punch,” he said just a year before being hounded from office under threat of impeachment which he did not have the courage to face. iss baat ko rehnain dein

But to Birmingham and before that to London, where Musharraf launched his `party`. He was angry, calling people who hold a mirror to him liars and propagandists whilst all the time dissembling and telling half-truths himself. Swearing upon God, for example, that he knew nothing about Afia Siddiqui`s disappearance when his prime minister at the time, Zafarullah Jamali, came on record the very next day to say that he had personally told Musharraf about the rumours of her disappearance upon which he told Jamali to not say anything about it, to let it go — “”.

Birmingham was where he launched a vicious personal attack on Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the second-largest party in the country and a two-time prime minister. The despicable language does not bear repeating. And this is the man who has the gall to take himself seriously as a possible political leader of this country? Most pathetic, indeed pitiable that the much-vaunted Pakistan Army should have produced such a person with such characteristics, who, mark, made it right to the top.

Something wrong in all of this, gentlemen? I mean, he also cheated in the nine-mile run in PMA in direct contravention of the honour system, that should have seen him drummed out. Surely something is very wrong here.

Neither was that all at Musharraf`s so-called debut in electoral politics. A few days before, he made the absurd demand that the army be given a permanent constitutional role in having a say in the day-to-day running of the government of Pakistan. Verbatim: “Pakistan`s army chief ought to be involved in some form, to ensure checks and balances, to ensure good governance … we must involve the military men. They should have a place to voice their concerns.”

If this is a bone he is throwing to the generals — you scratch my back by engineering me into power and I`ll scratch yours — it is one best left untouched. For if such a thing does come to pass it will mean the death knell for the blessed country and all who sail in her. Which reminds me: after the almost complete alienation of Balochistan, is it the turn of Khyber Paktunkhwa next?

What is the definitive army position on the alleged killing-by-firing-squad video that has inflamed passions across the country? Some reports suggest that after initially denying the incident, the army brass has told the Americans on pain of having military aid cut off, that they will investigate the matter further. Well, could we Pakistanis be told in clear terms what the devil is going on?

As readers well know, I have no truck with those that stuff their ideology down another person`s throat, for example the Taliban. But I will say that even the most monstrous criminal should be convicted through due process, not vigilante justice. The state itself cannot be allowed to become a terrorist.

Endpiece: `Militants` torched Nato supplies in Shikarpur and (DHA Phase-II) Islamabad two nights apart? Tell me another. Who in heaven are we trying to fool?

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