What Musharraf and Lady Gaga have in common

Published: November 12, 2010

Musharraf is about 21 million fans short of Lady Gaga's fans base - no reason he can't run Pakistan.

Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and General Pervez Musharraf have something unusual in common: They all have an enormous fan following on Facebook. Now for Gaga, who has 22 million fans, and Bieber, 15 million, that maybe an appropriate yardstick of popularity given that they are entertainers and the more they are watched, the higher are the record label sales.

In a recent interview with the BBC, former President Musharraf spoke about his political career’s resurrection, asserting vehemently that he is very popular in Pakistan. The assertion may be debatable but I wouldn’t write Musharraf off completely yet.

When asked how he gauged his popularity, much to my astonishment, Musharraf gleefully revealed, with an air of victorious arrogance:

“I happen to have 350,000 Facebook followers!”

Before I could let out a scream in utter disbelief, the host asked him in the most austere manner:

“You think you are popular in Pakistan and can launch a successful political party on the basis of the number of followers you have on a social networking website?”

Damage control: Pakistan’s last coup d’etat initiator rebutted:

“It is but one of the indicators. I have a comprehensive analysis of my popularity from various sources.”

Now, naturally one wonders if Mr Musharraf is so popular here in the country, how come he launched his political party in London and is promoting it in international forums in Dubai and New York. He says he is not afraid that his return to Pakistan will spark a plethora of corruption charges; in fact he is being cautious due to security concerns, possibly assassination. Yes sir, quite popular indeed.

His concluding remarks included that the youth of Pakistan, his 18 to 30 years old Facebook followers, need him to save the country. According to him 80 per cent of these Facebook followers are Pakistanis, then why is he catering to the 20 per cent who is not in Pakistan?

If Musharraf is seriously considering a political renaissance, he must find a way to connect with the people back home, whom he intends to play saviour to. He says he needs to create an atmosphere before coming here, I say one can only create or change an atmosphere by being present here to begin with.

If the General wants to convince people that he means business this time, he will have to take drastic measures. He will have to put his security concerns aside and come back and devise a strategy to win back the trust of his people who are in desperate need of change. That will be a good determinant of his popularity. Meanwhile, Justin Bieber has reached one billion ‘views’ on YouTube, and he’s not even that great.


Musab Memon

A sub-editor on the National desk of The Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Waleed Khan

    Good to see Al-Hajj Nawaz Saudi following in the footsteps of Musharraf and Lady Gaga by ‘launching’ himself on facebook as well to try to attain the same amount of popularityRecommend

  • piggy

    common: po-po-po-pokerfaceRecommend

  • Dania

    Mr Musab Memon you are right. Pervez Musharraf needs to come back to Pakistan save our children and if he does reside in London, the least he can do is dress like Miss Lady GagaRecommend

  • anonymous

    i still hate him..Recommend

  • http://www.tanzeel.wordpress.com Tanzeel

    On May 10, 2010, Musharraf claimed that he has 350,000 Facebook followers. Even after 6 months you couldn’t shrug off his thoughts believe it or not but he has become indispensable for you — and this is what we call popularity. Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/sardaralamkhan Sardar Alam Khan


    It isn’t necessary that whoever has joined Mush’s page should be his supporters. I believe many people are there to keep an eye on his updates and proceedings. I don’t think he is a popular person. He got more votes than the real votes polled in 2002 referendum. He is very good at inflating indices and exaggerating facts and figures.Recommend

  • Jaffakush

    0.35 million vs. 22 million. Are you a moderate mathmetician? Cos for fundamentalist I dont see how 0.35 million is simlar to 22.

    As for .00035 billion fans some will be there to protest or show him the dissidence since Facebook dont allow to post unless you like the Musharraf.

    Nice PR piece.Recommend

  • parvez

    Great read.
    Musharraf had and still has a problem. As explained by the ambassador to Pakistan of a prominent European country : If Musharraf spoke less and listened more things would have been different for him.
    Obviously the man is past learning.Recommend

  • Patriot

    musab…without him your pointless article wouldnt have seen the light of the day…atleast thank him for thatRecommend

  • Patriot

    @Tanzeel…agree with you…cant these pseudo westerns at Tribune just close this facebook chapter once and for we have had enough of this OR may be the editor of ET had assigned the task to each blog writer here to post something on Musharraf’s facebook popularity each monthRecommend

  • Khurram Asad

    I don’t know if he is good or bad but he is certainly better than the current lot ruling the country! This is further reiterated by the current implementation of the flood tax where most of the politicians have not even contributed a single penny on assisting the victims even though they are sitting on a huge amount of wealth deposited in various parts of the world.

    As for him being in the UK, I think there are other politicians who have done that and are still living and running the country from there. One can also not forget the fact that the PPP even though is the ruling party launched there party head’s campaign in Birmingham this year.

    So I think people should cut Musharraf some slack!!Recommend

  • http://www.LiaquatAli.com Liaquat Ali
  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/13/syed-ali/ S. Ali Raza

    Musab: Why are all the media-men including Dr. Shahid Masood, Hamid Mir, and now Nawaz Sharif are concentrating on facebook for politics? Please check their pages and more than “Musharraf” activity on this social medium. Check out Nawaz’s video where he had sent a message to his potential followers on facebook?

    The world of politics is changing, if you don’t join the wagon, you will be too late! Recommend

  • abid mohiuddin

    Mr. author is unaware of History

    Prophet Muhammad, &SAW Imam Khomeini . All successful while still abroad and w/o risking their life at the beginning and returned home when situation was favorable . I am not comparing (Naoozobillah !!) but just telling Historical facts. Recommend

  • Jawad Shah

    I couldn’t agree more with TanzeelRecommend

  • lil Monster

    it pa pa pa pokerfaceRecommend

  • salman

    People like him on facebook because of his exotic accent which is even rare in villages of pakistan :) Oh maybe because he was bunking classes at kakol to get is lousy BA degree. Does he know how to create a fan page? Recommend

  • Fazeel

    @Author: Please see the Tanzeel’s response.After seeing your arguement in this blog I sincerely hope you atleast good at your real job being sub editor of sports desk:P

    @Tanzeel:You hit the nail bro,Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/sardaralamkhan Sardar Alam Khan

    Join “I am a responsible and civilized citizen of Pakistan”

  • http://www.facebook.com/sardaralamkhan Sardar Alam Khan

    Guys: What do you think about Mustaqbil Pakistan, a new party? Its website has a lot to read.Recommend

  • Amna

    @ Tanzeel and everyone who finds his comment so great:

    Yes, if someone mentions Musharraf again it is because they can not get him out of their head hence it indicates his popularity.

    ET readers also seem to be quite obsessed with Mr Imran Khan altouhgh he is not in office and certainly hasn’t made the absolutely hilarious statement that Musharraf has….so what does that mean for Khan saab??

    Very very biased… tsk tsk.Recommend

  • Angelos

    Politics and Social Media go hand in hand, as shown during Obama campaign in 2008. Social Media presence will become a standard but for now, it has nothing to do with Pakistan Politics.
    As far as Mushis followers on FB goes, they are bunch of wannabes whose political views on their FB profile is mostly set to “Hate Politics” or people who usually come up with a rant of “economy itni achi ker thi” when exchanging views regarding him.Recommend

  • feathered brain

    gaga,bieber n mushi all are great! =)Recommend

  • hissan

    Op-ed worthy !Recommend

  • http://abbasiworld.blogspot.com Wasio Ali Khan Abbasi

    There is famous and there is infamous, both are popular with Musharraf and Rahman Dakait being part of the latter.Recommend

  • Saad Durrani

    Another round of Musharrafism! This is getting so old so fast.Recommend

  • dr Kamran Baluch

    Musharraf is way behind than Lady Gaga, due to obvious reasons. He is not singing songs in crazy costumes all over the world. BUT, he ofcourse is leaps ahead compared to Nawaz and Imran. Facebook do represent real people of Pakistan. They might not vote, but they are real people.
    By the way, will the writer feel any shame, if Musharraf really do return to Pakistan?? I doubt so. We will see these people’s silly columns still everywhere…Recommend

  • Salman Saif

    i think Mr Musab Memon is completely unaware of Who actually Musharraf is, and what he has done for this country…. he is the persons who saved Pakistan and did tremendous job as a President as compare to our Current Mr. 10% Zaradari…. democracy, democracy…democracy.. all the time we shout these stupid words and infact democracy is the biggest problem of our country. this democracy had never yielded any positive results for the country. Recommend

  • Moz

    When Musharraf does return to Pakistan, these ……. find other excuses to defame him. Recommend

  • khan

    I’d rather have a dimwitted Lady Gaga in Pakistan any day, instead of a loudmouthed has-been who, despite his protestations, is simply too scared to return and face the music.Recommend

  • Azeem

    Geo Musharraf – Pakistan first.

    Any blog/article on Musharraf is sold within hours; isn,t this in itself sufficient to believe that Musharraf still remains the most popular leader in Pakistan?Recommend

  • Yousaf

    what i can see.. anything written about Musharraf is treated like Hot Cake.. any TV program, News, anything.

    He will come back, he has been DG Operations and understand what’s the BEST time to grab the opportunity. Recommend

  • ann

    ME TOO !!Recommend

  • ann

    Mr! do u think if something SELL OUT within hours it will become the LEADER of the NATION !!
    In this case I think SUGAR is the biggest Leader of our nation !!Recommend

  • ann syedha

    @Salman Saif:
    AMAZING ?? if democracy is the biggest problem of the nation , what the hell “KHAKIS” were doing in all those 37 years out of 63 years of Pakistan ?
    Either u were born yesterday or u must be joking !
    Just think when 2 & a half rivers of Pakistan sold out under US lead world Bank who was Ruling Pak?
    When Pakistan severed in to two pieces who was ruling Pakistan ?
    When the Biggest SURRENDER of the century took place in east Pakistan who was ruling Pakistan?
    When ASSP , TNFJ ,MQM , PPI , Lashker e Jangvi ,etc were established to become Venomous seeds for this poor country , who was ruling Pak ?
    when 4 million Afghan muhajereen with bunch of out laws , accompanying KK, TT ,Mousers, rocket launchers, Drugs & Hathoraa groups invaded Pakistan who was ruling Pak ?
    And the less I say about this Dictator who ruined what ever left by his three predecessors the better !! Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/sardaralamkhan Sardar Alam Khan

    @Salman Saif: Actually we haven’t seen the real democracy. Zardari’s democracy is a sort of civilian dictatorship.

    @Ann: You are right. Army is induldged in politics and it has forgotten its role it is supposed to play.

    @Azeem, Yousaf: Musharraf is spending much to get media attention. If he has 300000 fans on facebook, believe me majority won’t accept him as leader again. I DON’T SEE ANY FUTURE FOR HIM IN PAKISTANRecommend

  • mujtaba

    @Liaquat Ali:
    You should read this on why Pakistan needs Musharraf. link textRecommend

  • http://www.otheredition.com/VMagazine VMagazine

    Lady Gaga featuring on the cover of May 2011 issue of V magazine, get your digital copy from Other Edition Newsstand.Recommend