VIEW: The mega Mush future —Elf Habib - Friday, December 03, 2010

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Beyond his wild vacuous thoughts to ride back tumultuously like Benazir or Khomeini, Mush seems to have a mega million-dollar future in a new mammon world. He may, for instance, rake in billions by selling his historic uniform, i.e. the second skin, at some giant international auctioneers like Sotheby’s or Christie’s

The recent Holbrooke remarks about very slim chances for the return of General Musharraf seem to have further sealed the fate of the erstwhile dictator, ousted amid the mounting ire and contempt of his compatriots. PML-Q cobbled by him from the more pliant PPP and Nawaz League fragments foundered in the elections, splintering into several factions. Some of his janissaries like Jamali, who once so fondly relished him as their boss, have been forging another League lineage which, despite its insignificance in national politics, could certainly impair his nascent League so painstakingly (read poundstakingly) promoted in foreign lands. Even if these Leagues manage to merge out of the pains and predicaments of their parturition, they are likely to be kidnapped by some more potent reigning general spoiling the most wistful Mush dream to reemerge as our ‘meaningful president’, implying an omnipotent dictator. Worsening these odds against him are also threats like being charged for treason, trampling the constitution, unexplained deaths and disappearances and the Kargil disaster. Still, beyond his wild vacuous thoughts to ride back tumultuously like Benazir or Khomeini, or even sneak in unceremoniously like Nawaz, Mush seems to have a mega million-dollar future in a new mammon world. This, incidentally, has nothing to do with the controversial Chak Shehzad estate, the stock, sugar, cement scandals or the chunks chipped from the American billions but could come entirely from his new wondrous ventures growing into a new globe-trotting empire uninterrupted by Interpol inquiries.

He may, for instance, rake in billions by selling his historic uniform, i.e. the second skin, at some giant international auctioneers like Sotheby’s or Christie’s as this is not only a historic memorabilia like the relics of the rulers and royals radiating the power that ruled and ruined the destiny of more than 160 million people, but also the first-ever second skin shed not merely by a dictator but any humanoid. Even the Smithsonian Museum may be tempted by this raiment as their world’s largest vaults of rarities certainly still lack such duplicate skin samples.

The factors of fascination for such artifacts, in fact, are quite bizarre and varied. In 2006, an Audrey Hepburn attire was sold for £ 467,200 at Christie’s, a marble bust of Maharaja Duleep Singh fetched £ 1.7 million in 1907, while a dagger owned by emperor Shahjahan also brought £ 1.7 million. The sale of another dagger thought to have belonged to a Sikh Guru was stalled for its sanctity and sentimental association. Some Sikh communities however, whipped up the requisite funds to redeem its possession. Some diehard uniform aficionados in Pakistan, like the Chaudhries of Gujrat, may also gang up to make a rival bid to retain the uniform in their family as a talisman for the remaining nine dictators they had persistently vowed to get elected in uniform. Altaf Bhai may need it for the next Lord General being lured to liquidate feudalism and corruption.

Its worth in the world market similarly may be surmised from the fact that last year, Nicolas Hayek, chairman of the world’s largest watch making Swatch group, is known to have paid $ 7.85 million merely for a piece of wood from a fallen tree, reputed to be a favourite of Marie Antoinette in the Versailles Palace. Antoinette, the 18th century queen, has an uncanny parallel with our commando ruler as she revelled in luxury while her people groveled in abject poverty, pining for bread before the French Revolution. She is even rumoured to have quipped why people would not eat cake instead. Mush, similarly, wandered on marathon world trips drumming out the details of his enlightened moderation while people were ravaged by hunger, thirst, drought, darkness and dearth and dearness of essential edibles.

Another profitable line for Mush would be to commercialise his vast dictatorial experience of crushing and containing the democratic forces and combating terrorists while secretly cosseting them. A consortium of discarded dictators and hardbound neo-cons enrolled as a think tank and special resource and training resort for the Pentagon and other interested defence and arms conglomerates may be constituted for this purpose. Several former strongmen from Latin America and Burma may be inducted in this caucus. This alliance, which as a euphemism may be called the World Council for Peace and Stability, is a rare recipe for a roaring business as the Republicans are once again stirring for success in the US.

His passion for golf, glamour and showbiz can be similarly streamed into a saga of sports and entertainment spawning unbound fame and wealth. A billion dollar bonanza is rolling across our borders merely in the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket extravaganza. Pakistan’s scenic and lush green golf and polo grounds, jealously guarded from the lowly commoners, may be similarly opened up to glamorous global galas. Even Zardari’s infatuation for horse breeding can be blended with the marvellous Mush feats for horse breaking and trading to reinforce this gargantuan enterprise. Zardari, broken unfortunately by the bestial torture in internment, no longer looks a springy equestrian. Still he would certainly condescend to lend a few ceremonial chakkars as a patron of these Polo Primes. The enterprise can be similarly extended to soccer, squash and other popular sports.

The sports industry is intimately intertwined with the movie and media realms, making the stories of sports, wars, world leaders and events a rampant rage. Some flicks about fictitious events and fighters in Afghanistan are known to have made billions. Movies based on the real adventures, deeds and fate of dictators, with the actual protagonists cast in them, can really revolutionise reality cinema and become new blockbusters. Movie plots and productions are often inspired by popular books and biographies and Mush has already managed a phenomenal fortune from his In the Line Of Fire. Far more riveting, revealing and rewarding sequels to this controversial collection as well as new accounts about the lives and deeds of other dictators can be compiled.

Such innovative options may eventually involve our other veteran cadres knitting the khaki business command and skill into a magnificent multinational marketing machine. This would, in turn, also revamp the defence sector and swamp the simmering discontent against excessive budget inputs in it. Because once the sector is contributing zillions to the exchequer, doling out a few extra billions to it would not hurt the people.

The writer is an academic and freelance columnist. He can be reached at

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