Monday, October 08, 2007
Pakistan Scene I, Act II
Play: Waltz of the warriors
Musharraf: King and the kingmaker
Be-Nazir: A beautiful but ambitious damsel
Kiyani: A knight errant
Bush : Big brother is watching
Supreme Court: To divvy out a key verdict
Godmen: Howling and sneering but no one is listening
Gunmen: Running mad and fuming
Press: Effectively gagged; occassional jeers
Freedom is a saddled mustang -- beautiful, powerful but reined in. ~ SSB
The stage is all set. Curtains are being re-tailored. Pakistan, our ineluctable naughty neighbor is on the verge of creating a new order, which may shape its destiny in the times to come. Musharraf, the wily General has won the Prez poll. Oh, and it was very democratic. He went to the same senate and assemblies [unlawfully] – which were elected under him in 2002 – and no brownies for guessing how many votes his closest opponent got. Two [Poor, old boy Justice Wajihuddin]. Mush lapped an impresive 671. The Islamic parties along with Nawaz’s PML boycotted the polls. They anyways stood no great chance. Alsorans. Now the supreme court of Pakistan will decide on Oct 17, whether the poll was valid.
There is a rider though: If it okays the win, the SC will live to adjudicate more cases. In case they decide otherwise, [which is unlikely] expect a US backed military takeover [Applying the principle: Obeying dictators stay; the non-assenting hang]. The white house spokesperson Scott Stanzel would have a one-liner ready: Internal matter of Pakistan. So simple. Fundamental rights will go out of the window. Honorable Justices can then take a long walk, with no work. No messenger of the Armageddon, I hope democracy prevails in Pakistan. Diminished-deficient-democracy.
Politics is no rocket science but it could involve complex practicals. Last week, Musharraf signed a national reconciliation ordinance [they are good at coining these terms….Chief executive, accountability bureau et al] thereby absolving Pakistan's former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, and other favorable politicians, of all corruption charges — a move that has been criticized by many. Bhutto, a one-time rival, termed as a security risk, previously by Musharraf, is now seen as a major partner in the future government to be formed under the newly declared but yet-uncrowned king. Exigencies of real politic, as they say. Nothing is perpetually fixed. There are no permanent friends or foes.
While we saw Nawaz being bundled back to -- where he belonged [using the Mush expression], we now have Madame eminence busy packing her designer bags to Pakistan. Mohtarma Bhutto returns Oct 18. She might have a slightly shady past but the lady oozes charm. Those at CNN and BBC fall for her. The mango orchards of Larkana turn crimson, as the 'Daughter of the East' descends. No Pakistani politician worth his salt – for instance -- can match her pizzazz. Oxford-Harvard educated, armed with twin degrees in political science and economics, Bhutto is suave, polished and blessed with an amazing pedigree. [Dad: Prez/PM/Martyr/Oxford-Univ of Berkeley product; Grand-dad knighted by the Queen of England/Dewan of Junagarh; Ms Bhutto has just sent her sonny Bilawar to Oxford....and the legacy continues]
Supremely conscious of her image, you can expect Benazir to turn up -- in Pakistan -- in great style. Versace sandals, a Dior bag in hand, a Guy Laroche pettycoat firmly buttoned up, she looks geared up to lord over 150 million believers. A female! Difficult to stomach for many. The mullahs are riled, heads filled with nothing but rage. Taliban has started issuing threats but that won’t deter Pakistan’s first family in absentia from returning. Bhutto’s are to Pakistan what Gandhi’s are to India and Kennedy’s to the US. Flawed but tragic and regal, thus heroic.
While Pervez may soon doff his uniform and slip into those smart Shervani’s, he has taken utmost care to choose his successor in the army. That is called cherry-picking. Another Pervez replaces him. Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani. Musharraf loyalist, Punjabi, stammerer, chain smoker, moderate, close to Miss Bhutto [military advisor during her PM days], palsy but tough. Kiyani, as is the case with Bhutto, was finalized after an official stamp from the US of A. Only liberal, accommodating guys make the cut. The new spy boss at the powerful and deadly ISI is another Mush bloke, Gen Tariq Majeed. That completes the equation for you.
Wait for the third week of October. The drama is expected to play out as per the agreed script. Unless the judiciary decides to add a flaky line or two. We know what happens next.