Sari mein sari Parag Sari.
Coup mein coup Pakistan.
In a bizarre turn-of-events bordering on the farcical, “democratically elected” President Musharraf has been overthrown by “martial law enforcing army man” President Musharraf. Frustrated by what he calls “obstacles created in the face of the democratic process” our President Pinocchio, has done what any other upholder of “the rule of the people” would do when faced with a challenge to the democratic process—–he has abolished it. Totally. This is what political scientists call the “Na rahega baans na bajegi bansuri” gambit.
Wait. Wait. Wait. What was that again? Abolished democracy? Was’nt Pakistan already a tinpot dictatorship for quite a few years now? Well not “dictatorship enough” as the noble President , who claims to have “initiated a democratic transition eight years back” now realizes. For 8 long years he still had to contend with a pesky Constitution which, like an old shoe whose sole was worn out, had been blistering his toes from time to time what with people like Justice Chaudhury (not to be confused with the Justice Chaudhury that went Mamma Mia Ponk Ponk) giving him grief and him having to continuously justify the legality of his dictatorship through it. Enough however is enough as the worn-out shoe has been cast aside with a swift flick of his foot, all pretenses have finally been dropped, the constitution has been suspended, loyalist judges appointed, private channels and communication blacked out and his reign deemed indisputably legal simply because there is now no law. Except what the President says.
If there was someone for whom 9/11 came as a blessing from heaven it was President Musharraf. All his past sins of subverting democracy and supporting the Taliban were immediately forgiven once he declared his intention to join the US in the war against terror. This not only made him a darling of the West but also led to billions of dollars in aid and military assistance, cash that not only aggrandized the military establishment of which he was a part but which also served as a piggy-bank to finance the General’s own private war—the plan to take Kashmir from India—a plan that had stalled with an ass-whoopping at Kargil and the consequent democratic isolation of Pakistan in 1999.
The plan was simple as most genius plans are. Feed the West with low value targets from time to time to keep up the impression of an intense struggle with Jihadi elements while in actuality do nothing. Keep on banking in the cheques. Provide safe haven inside Pakistan for Taliban fleeing the US-led bombing in Afghanistan and send them eastward into Kashmir, a move that would meet with universal approval from Pakistanis.
Everything worked well for a while but then you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. The US went into the quagmire of Iraq and took its eyes off Afghanistan. As the US got drawn into the war in Iraq and kept at bay taking heavy casualties, the resurgent radical Islamic Jihadi movement consolidated itself in the northwestern tribal regions of Pakistan, a safe haven for them because the US were not allowed to bomb targets or do hot pursuits into Pakistan—a condition that President Musharaff had imposed because he really didnt want any of the “real” terrorists to be actually hurt.
Meanwhile pro-democracy agitators and radical Islamic factions made common cause against Musharaff with the President’s ostensible support of the US (after all officially the Pakistani army was fighting the Taliban and Musharraf was giving hot-air-laden soundbytes against Jihadis for the consumption of the Western media) being taken as a rallying cry to concentrate popular bile against the President rule. In other words, the sham war had now become real. There was an assassination attempt or two but that too played into the hands of the General as he could now turn to the US administration and say “See how anti-Jihadi I am—they are trying to kill me ! Next cheque please.”
But this game could only go so far. As months went by, the US insistence on actual Pakistani action became more stringent as an increasing number of Western decision-makers on the ground began to see through the double-game the General was playing. But that was the least of the General’s problems.Facing rebellion inside the Pakistani Army ranks who now were refusing to take any kind of real “action” against Muslim brothers while at the same time encountering a steadily strengthening Taliban and Al Qaeda inside Pakistan, the General sought to make a quiet truce with the tribal leaders. It really did not work—except that the news of the General’s dealings was on the 7 oclock news in the US which made his handlers in the State department pretty upset.
Increasingly coming to a realization about the General’s double-dealing (but unwilling to take any concrete action against the President as he is still looked upon as someone who does not wish the US any harm), the Americans took matters into their own hands sending unmanned predator drones to take out targets inside Pakistan. An attack on Al Zawahiri inside Pakistan that killed several Jihadists and similar attacks inside Pakistani airspace, done without notifying the Pakistani army (explained away as caused by a “miscommunication“) were signs that the Pakistani Army were no longer being trusted. Closer to the seat of power, Justice Chaudhury’s campaign against Musharraf coupled with the emergency situation in the Lal Masjid had by now totally beleaguered the General as his game was being torn apart under the weight of circumstances.
With the widely-read Newsweek reporting on the alarming situation in Pakistan in which they told scary stories of top Al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives walking with impunity in Quetta and Karachi and large portions of the country under the thumb of extreme Jihadi elements, the US mainstream television media was gradually waking up to the emergence of Pakistan as the most dangerous country in the world. In last week’s Democratic President debate, Senator Joe Biden, in clear words, said that Iran’s nuclear material is not the US’s biggest threat—-it is Pakistan’s stockpile. Senator Clinton said she agreed (though of course Senator Clinton says “yes” to all sides of a debate). When presidential candidates mention Pakistan as threat No 1 on primetime television, you can be sure that the “greatest trick the General ever pulled” has worn dangerously thin.
And now with US administration taking unilateral action bypassing the Pakistani army, large areas of the country out of control and in the hands of the Taliban, sections of his own army surrendering to the Jihadi forces , the judiciary ceaselessly hammering him and most importantly the possibility of losing his stranglehold on power, General Musharaff has played his final move, invoking Abraham Lincoln and using the Shakti Kapoor “main chota sa, nanha sa, pyara sa baccha hoon” line to gain some sympathy (Musharraf also told the US, European Union and Commonwealth countries not to expect the same level of democracy and civil liberties and human rights in those countries and give him time as “we are learning democracy”. “Please give us time. Please do not expect your level of civil liberties and civil rights. We are also learning. Please give us time,” he said. [From Dawn]) and save his own ass for the time being.
Will he succeed? Will he, Houdini like, somehow manage to extricate himself from the deathlock of Pakistani politics and reassert his authority? Or will this mark the beginning of the end of Pakistan as a state —the deadly trigger that leads to a nuclear device/material falling into the hands of the mad Jihadis—–the free world’s worst nightmare?
Keep watching. And don’t forget to say your prayers.
56 thoughts on “Mushu Mushu Hasi”
Sad to see Pakistan going down the same road travelled before during the reign of Zia Ul Haq and Yahya Khan.Just hoping that no genocide happens in Pakistan this time around.Wonder how Pinocchio sleeps at night
@Vikram: Is there any minority group of any significant size left in Pakistan to do a genocide on—weren’t they all wiped out a long time ago?
Very well written.We also have to wait and watch what Benazir and Sharief come up with.
“Sari mein sari Parag Sari.” brilliant start.
coming to the post, this may be the first time i dont agree with you on a particular thought.. regarding minorities in pak, there are many. many many. i think that’s where most of the problems stem from. each group has its own agenda and looks at their own benefit… they seldom end up agreeing on anything and there is never a collective decision on whats best for all. or as Dumbeldore would say ‘the greater good’.
eg. the city of karachi, where most of the violence takes place, is home to 15 million ppl.. there you’ll find muslim, hindu, christians, parsi, sindhi, balochi, afghan, punjabi.. you name it. from every group possible. forget musharraf, if it was upto the ppl, they’d kill each other first.
high illiteracy rates fueled by dirty politicians is never a good combination.
in my opinion, its a much deeper and complex problem than just mushi. he’s just a ‘katputli’.
Hardcore update boss. Maja aa gaya
Yeah maybe now to appease the people of his country and give them a good show (has been prevailing since ancient times, good distractions of blood and gore are all the people really want) Mushi will probably dnounce India again and try another attempt at Kashmir. Let’s see what the “nations united against terrorism” have to say about ther ally then. And as for the same nations saying they support constitutional and democratic means in these countries, I would love to see their statements on this.
Beautiful as always. I think the U.S had already been informed of this step and maybe they even approved of it. Mushi must’ve managed to convince them that the reason he couldn’t pursue all those jihadists was pesky little politics. I don’t know if Americans are naive enough to buy his reasoning, but hey you can always speculate. 😉
this is serious stuff: politics, tyranny and destruction. not your entertainment news.
oh, wait! ..
india on the other hand is being taken over by ranbir kapoor in a towel.
if anyone can get me a visa to pakistan, please help me.
Yeah ..at the comment above.. what is all this hell about Ranbir and towel… that song is so gay…
@Arnab: I actually sat through teh broadcast of Musharraf’s entire speech (how sad is that!). Some interesting points:
(a) He looked extremely worried and tense – not the usual dictatorial bravado we see in the Pak military supremos. He looked more like Nawaz Sharif ordering a pull-back of troops from Kargil
(b) It was a very incoherent speech – delving into minute details of things that have gone wrong. He sounded whiny and petulant. Not the sign of a man in control of the situation
(c) The part of the speech in English – almost a plea to the West to bear with him while Pakistan learns to have democracy and value human rights. He sounded more like a bootlicking clerk trying to justify himself to the burra sahibs than the supremo of a nuclear power. I may not be a Paki fan, but as a person from the subcontinent, I cringed at his behaviour.
It’s not the bravado of a man who says “To hell with you. I’m in charge of the situation and you have to do business with me”. It was a self-justification of a deeply worried man who’s losing control of the situation.
Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto and Imran Khan were never serious threats to Musharraf, as long as the military was backing him. The judiciary can be subverted (as Indira Gandhi famously proved) given adequate time. But the real issue is that the military is seriously losing control of the situation. Musharraf is now scared for his life if the judiciary overrules his election as Prez while remining military top dog (The rumours were that the election would be allowed, but Musharraf would not be allowed to remain army chief).
It’s a last gamble, but I doubt that Musharraf will win. I foresee that he’ll end the way Zia did. And that may not be good for Pakistan, or India, for that matter.
“@Vikram: Is there any minority group of any significant size left in Pakistan to do a genocide on—weren’t they all wiped out a long time ago?”
You can define anyone as a minority and have a genocide if you care to do so. You can split Pakistan into Punjabis, Sindhis, Baluchis and Peshawaris. You can split the country into clans and tribes. You can split it ideology-wise (if your dogma is a tad different from mine, then you are a disident). When you are in the mood for a genocide, any excuse will do (as Stalin proved in the 30s and 40s)
@indiholic: I doubt Musharraf would have the guts to call for an emergency if he hadn’t got a tacit go-ahead from the US. All the Pak correspondents were fairly unanimous on that. And when did the US really get hot under the collar about dictatorship among it’s client states? It prefers it that way – easire to control and all that…
Pashtuns, Sindhis, Punjabis, Muhajirs and Blochs…each consider themselves ‘ethnic minorities’ within Pakistan.
Believe it or not, I follow politics to be entertained. It’s like American Idol or X-factor for ugly people. Reality TV is such a huge success because it breeds instant hate figures, and what is politics, if not the institutionalization of hate?
So let me enjoy this mad circus called democracy in Pakistan, with bullshit artists and corrupt, nepotist shitheads very much like the ones in our backyard.
It was about time such a thing should have happened in Pakistan. It will make for interesting reality TV. Hopefully, idiots in rajpath are keeping a track off it and not completely lost it!
No doubt that Mushi is in trouble, but if not him then who? I don’t see any solution if Benazir Bhutto takes to power in the name of democracy and keep on propagating “Saccha Musalamn’s” ideology for everything..any thoughts?
Maybe, just maybe, India’s judges and lawyers should a learn a lesson on taking bold and hard decisions from Pakistan’s judges and lawyers, be it reservations or punishing people who incite communal violence or CMs who call strikes etc.
We Indians should not drop our guard on protecting(or acheving) democracy and civil liberties …whole South Asia is riding high on military dictatorships.
Here in India we don’t have a credible chief opposition party.
Yes we need to pray but for first for democracy in India, please don’t it take for granted !
Frankly, I don’t believe any of this stuff about militants ‘taking over’ large parts of the country. It’s all a show so that Mushy can stay in power.
The militants are all encouraged or at least not opposed by the ISI. The Army doesn’t even try seriously to eradicate then, it simply sends in some half-trained paramilitary cannon fodder. These militants don’t really try to hide – they hold press conferences and operate FM radio stations – a half dozen bombs dropped from a F-16 would take out their entire infrastructure if they really wanted.
It’s all a show to make Musharaff look an ‘ally’ to the West on Terror and make him indispensable so that there are no real repercussions when he gets rid of pesky annoyances like judges and constitutions. This is nothing but a means to keep holding on to power.
haha..good one! ranbir battling out with SRK’s six pack.. who will be the one to take over India?!
Very well researched and written article.
Musharraf’s call for martial law is his last ditch effort to take control of the situation. However considering the mess that he has created – he is anti jihadi but also anti US, anti India but pro peace as well, pro democracy but anti judiciary – one cannot bet on him getting out of the situation with his arse intact.
The song is NOT gay. It is a good song. Don’t know about the person in the towel, however. 🙂
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. 😀
Why have you not written anything about Rizwanur-Priyanka saga?
Shan made this comment and I had removed it by mistake (while trying to delete a spam comment). I am putting it back again myself based on a copy-paste from a browser tab that was open.
“I doubt Musharraf would have the guts to call for an emergency if he hadn’t got a tacit go-ahead from the US.”
I tend to agree with you. After the usual round of condemnations and recriminations from Condi and others, this is that happens today (NYtimes):
U.S. Is Likely to Continue Aid to Pakistan
By DAVID E. SANGER and DAVID ROHDE
Published: November 5, 2007
WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 — The Bush administration signaled Sunday that it would probably keep billions of dollars flowing to Pakistan’s military, despite the detention of human rights advocates and leaders of the political opposition by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the country’s president.
“he is anti jihadi but also anti US, anti India but pro peace as well, pro democracy but anti judiciary – one cannot bet on him getting out of the situation with his arse intact.”
Tend to disagree – have a strong feeling that this time, his pants are too loose, exposing his arse…
violence and more violence…
its like a never ending chain reaction…
all the world is a market…
every living and dying soul is a consumer…
there is no humanity, no govt, no democracy…
there is only dollar…
We badly needed a Shakespeare poet here on this blog. This reminds me of:
“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day…
…And all our yesterdays have lighted for fools
The way to dusty death.”
We want more!!!! 😀
Imagine being the president in a country where you KNOW that if you are out of power, you will be running for your life!
Mush bit off more than he could chew the moment he orchestrated his original coup.
He is seriously in panic mode now.
*shakes head in disbelief* There was brief period there when i really thought tht Paki luck was turning…these poor guys seems to be doomed with bigger morons than we have…yippeee..
wonder when this shit will end and we can call it a truce and get on with building our respective country…
oh yeah.. we are under attack from the abs too.. but the towel is winning..
it’s not the song… it’s the principle!
i watched the entire speech live AND made notes. beat that for loserville membership.
As counterintuitive as it may sound, I do think it is in India’s best interest to see Pervez Musharaff succeed. Imagine Pervez being assassinated I cannot imagine the implication for Indian security.
Democracy is over rated especially when there is no basic foundation of education and general civic sense. The fact of the matter is what most of the Pakistan has been successfully radicalized through madarasas. If ever there would be elections in Pakistan we would see a the same thing as seen in Palestine. A resounding victory of radical element like Hammas. Then we end up with a neighbor that is all the more hostile and militant than the one we are dealing with. Pak Military had been using radical elements for proxy war , but what I think has happened is that they have spiraled out of control and now all set to consume the hand that fed them in the past.
Pervez is not cozy with India for sure, but the atleast nuclear threat is still limited in some sense and we will know who is responsible. Under the definition of democarcy we will have a failed pakistan state run by mullah’s that is willing to throw a nuke from the back of a camel. Not good for our country !!
@W.T.F. “i watched the entire speech live AND made notes.”
My sympathies. Someone give Mushy baby a few lessons in structuring a speech. Something on the lines of Demagogy 101. I’ve seldom heard such an incoherent speech, especially one which the speaker seems to have prepared beforehand and partly read out.
The bugger’s just lost it.,I wonder if the rumour that he’s actually under house-arrest and his deputy has taken over is actually correct.
the speech was a ramble..but he is a better speaker than any Indian leader (with maybe the exceptions of advani or karat.. a.p.j was always interesting ..but manmohan singh or vajpayee are super boring… and when it comes to incomprehensibly reading out pre-prepared speeches, sonia gandhi is queen)
i think he made a strong case for imposing emergency. if judicial activism is threatening the division of powers it is a serious allegation. especially, given the fact that court was investigating officers behind the lal masjid operation and thereby hampering anti-terrorist activities, affecting law and order administration in islamabad and practically questioning all executive actions.
the only problem is that this is the exact reason indira gandhi imposed an emergency when the allahabad high court invalidated her election for misusing a government jeep.
i wouldn’t trust a weasel like Musharaf for a second. everything depends on whether he’s kicked out or quits the army voluntarily.
anyways, people are confused. it is not martial law but a state of ‘mashallah’ that has been declared in pakistan.
@ Arnab : Hearty congratulations on yet another gem.
“Sari mein sari Parag Sari” – my my !!! What a way to start! 🙂
I’m not really sure (and I’m sure many aren’t) what Prez Mush refers to as “obstacles created in the face of the democratic process” but whatever they are, he should be least concerned about them because democracy certainly is not something he has ever gone hand in hand with.
In fact, one who claims to have “initiated a democratic transition eight years back”by the way of a massive military coup and issuing non-bailable arrest warrants against all top leaders in the country (they may not have been saints, agreed, still…) should be the last person on earth one would associate the word ‘democracy’ with.
With the US “embarrassed” and everybody else in the world severely critical of his latest moves to forcefully impose emergency in Pakistan, and believing the rumours that he himself has been put in house-arrest by his own deputy to be true, in all probabilities it looks like a full-stop to the Mush-era is very much on the cards.
Now again another million dollar question pops up. Who is there to take over the charge of leading Pakistan from Mush? Is there anyone who can bring the most unruly, dangerous and directionless bunch of people under control? If that can be achieved, anything can be achieved. I only hope the US chooses its allies carefully and keeps a close watch on things now onwards. Whatever is happening has the US’s blindfolded ties with Pak as one of the primary reasons behind it.
Tough one. If Bush kicks Mush aside, the US will attract even more hatred from the Arab world. People will start demonizing the US much more. But if Mush stays, Pakis might start to hate US more. Iran is a case in point. But the question remains, where the hell is Bin Laden ?
@ Bengali Guy:
If Bush kicks Mush aside, the US will attract even more hatred from the Arab world… Iran is a case in point. But the question remains, where the hell is Bin Laden ?
Did you mean Islamic world?
Pakistan has almost no Arab population.
Iran and Pakistan have very different geo-political status vis-a-vis US. Bin Laden is somewhere in Pakistan and the US really doesnt want him.
The reality is that Laden is just a small(and now pretty much ineffective) fry in the larger context of Islam and the US knows that. But because the US, in trying to be politically correct, has turned Laden into a focal point, it has to keep Laden alive to continue its counter-terror initiatives.
Great post..tend to agree with everything you say on this. As advised, I have started praying!!
On an unrelated note, what do you think about putting up a ‘Greatbong’ favicon with your blog. With the levels of popularity you enjoy and the number of people who bookmark your blog, it could be a good idea to have a favicon.
@W.T.F.: Vajpayee – a boring speaker? When he became PM, yes – when he weighed the consequences of every individual word ten times during his utterances. But in his (comparative) youth he was considered the best Hindi speaker in Parliament. And I heard him at a rally in Lucknow in 1996 and he was pretty witty and impressive.
And from what I’ve heard, Manmohan was quite a good speaker in the class-room, and a delight to listen to, despite his squeaky voice. As a PM he’s just out of depth.
Sonia Gandhi? The less said the better.
whatever the reasons it was just irritating to hear Vajpayee speak as Prime Minister or see him wheeled around for that matter. now its Karunanidhi’s old age which is embarrassing. its sad that our political leaders cannot protect the dignity of their old age by remaining to be in the public eye.
i doubt if musharaf is going to have that problem though.
“Keep watching. And don’t forget to say your prayers.”
That is actually the most chilling part of this piece Arnab. Lets all see the elephant thats right here in the room. The Pakis have one bigass nuclear arsenal aimed at most indian major cities. Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore etc.
Our brilliant pollys have kinda forgotten to procure the only working anti missile system the ‘Arrow’ from Israel inbetween all their wrangling and bickering. This govt with its chinese agents and minority read ‘muslim’ appeasing pollys clearly could not care less about the rest of India.
Only silver lining is that the Pakis have been known to brag about their nukes without actually having the stuff to back it up. Their fissile material enrichment system is also very unstable. The best bet for india is that the crazy jihadi who gets his finger on the trigger actually hates the US or some other enemy more than India and gives us enough time to neutrilise the threat.
Its either that or as they used to say in Hiroshima – Sayonara.
get this piece of pig shit arvind b banned or something arnab
@ Arvind Bajrangi :
No wonder you speak like that. A ‘Bajrangi’, after all.
Your Bajrangi and Shivsainik brethren would be proud of you.
Bloody motherf*$@#ing bastard !!! What the hell are you doing here?
@Arnab, please filter out such comments. RTDM is no place for shitheads.
the Gb wrote “Will he succeed? Will he, Houdini like, somehow manage to extricate himself from the deathlock of Pakistani politics and reassert his authority? Or will this mark the beginning of the end of Pakistan as a state —the deadly trigger that leads to a nuclear device/material falling into the hands of the mad Jihadis—–the free world’s worst nightmare?”
Mad jihadis getting their fingers on the nuclear trigger seems unlikely due to their er, madness, and maybe because they seem to be more like Frankenstein’s Monster than a bunch of Dr.Strangeloves, and Pakistan ending as a state also seems unlikely (if only because there’s too much to embezzle from a State), so Mush might still pull through. Better than the other two anyway.
I dont think Musharraf had any choice. I am not a fan of dictatorship but if your alternatives are Benazir and Nawaz then I would take the Army anyday. One must not forget that Pakistan ,during the elected democracy of Benazir and Nawaz, was not free, not secular. There was no freedom of press, no freedom of expression for people of Pakistan during the democratically elected regimes between Zia and Musharraf’s army rule.
Musharraf is not Zia, he didn’t want power, he had to take the power to stay alive. He doesn’t want to radically Islamicise Pakistan nor does he want to plunder Pakistani wealth (atleast it is not in public domain yet).
Mus is wretched man.
War criminal 4 kargil. Has done nothing 2 save remaining few Hindus in Pak from perseqtion. Gave open refuge to Daud Ib. Cruel to Baloch. How can US assoc8 with such a villain?
Ind can never trust US, who botch Angola, Siera Leon, Chile & Iraq (Afghan action was ok). Even few weeks ago US insult Burma, but is so hypocritical that few weeks l8tr continues to fund total fuhror like Mus.
US wud rather help China than India. We Indians r really on r own.
“Or will this mark the beginning of the end of Pakistan as a state —the deadly trigger that leads to a nuclear device/material falling into the hands of the mad Jihadis—–the free world’s worst nightmare?”
Well we only have India and USA to blame for this. They knew all along that it was coming but didn’t do anything to revert it. They keep on supporting General and his man. While US policy can still be justified as they considered Mush an ally for war against terror, but what could explain India’s passivity, knowing that the general was the key architect of Kargil adventure.
So what could India have done to revert it? Mush was the only chap in Pakistan we could deal with. The only way (the US way) to really protest against a country’s leadership is to attack it and no thanks… the Indian Army is not a suicide squad. Even the US cannot enter Paki territory.
As if blaming India for all her own problems was not enough, we suddenly are to blame for the lack of democracy in Pakistan as well!
In the name of restoring democracy and fighting against extremism, Mushy has adopted a form of extremism himself. Instead of military action against militants his security forces have ben more busy arresting moderate activists in Pak. What’s going on here , is he stupid, is he confused or is he simply a devil ?
Hmm…In a few words- Trying to act like Big Brother and perhaps inspired by another Big Brother.
Looks like Pakistanis around the world are a under a lot of duress.:)
Time for Dhoni and co to pile on the misery.
I think Mushy will blame Benazir and Imran if Pak loose the series. Maybe arrest Malik and Younuis Khan for the loss.