An awami style dictator
In recent public appearances former president Perves Musharraf has been firing verbal bullets at political rivals and critics who have now been given an oppurtunity to lashing back as well – something they could not do while he maintained distance from the public and media.
The first shot came for Dr. AQ Khan who he called “characterless,” while Nawaz Sharif was declared “brainless.” He also claimed that the NRO was actually introduced after discussions with the Chaudhry brothers but the heated words did not end there.
It seems as if Musharraf has decided to go head-to-head with certain politicians and analysts who have been scoring points by bashing him and portraying him as the root cause of current and past crises. I am not sure whether this is the right time to browbeat opponents, but I believe he’s justified to respond them in the “awami” style.
The first interesting turn of phrase the former president used was “spent cartridges”(chalay huey kaartoos), to describe good for nothing retired generals who teamed up to hold him accountable for his actions (including the alleged abrogation of the constitution and the Kargil debacle). According to Musharraf, the ex-generals were sitting idle at home, had nothing to do and were using his return as a chance to enjoy some fame and TV air time.
This strategy was devised during the judicial crisis in Pakistan when an an older general would appear on TV and spew nonsense against Musharraf but there was only so far they could go as they risked facing treason charges during his presidency. But once he resigned things got more vocal.
Dr AQ Khan joined the anti-Musharraf bandwagon and took the oppurtunity to publish a colloquial style article in Jang where he called Musharraf despicable, traitorous foreign agent. He further accused him of being the self-styled commando who could not even set his foot on the street of this country because ‘the public would tear him into tiny pieces and feed him to scavengers.
It is statements like these that have now pushed Musharraf in to retaliation. It is obvious why he is callin Dr Khan “characterless.”
Meanwhile, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali who has had an inconsistent political history has taken another u-turn. He has blamed Musharraf for preparing to send Pakistani troops in Iraq. Meanwhile, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain in his interview got the facts straight and told the media that that when he was Prime Minister for a brief period, he had in fact refused to send troops to Iraq. Now it becomes easier for us to figure out the reality.
Similarly, the PML-N, is known to drag Musharraf’s name in to every issue and blame him for every catastrophe (be it the Aafia Siddiqui case, Bugtis murder or even Nawaz Shareef’s hair loss!) But when Musharraf responds — the “renowned Sharifs” start reminding him of etiquette.
Musharraf was indeed a dictator but he has few other feathers in his cap as well. In some cases, the dictator has achieved more that civillian leaders. The achievements of Musharraf become evident when compared with that of the present government.
If as a dictator he could introduce democratic norms like local government and media freedom just imagine what wonders he can perform as a democratic leader.
Now that the dictator has turned into a democrat, this democracy obsessed nation should not only welcome him but appreciate his awami style of politics as well.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.