Monday, October 08, 2007

Pakistan Scene I, Act II

Play: Waltz of the warriors
Primary Players
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.



Sheetal said...

A really nice piece of information. Hey ... you write very well and I am impressed at your command over both (vocab and world affairs).

Sheetal M,
New Delhi

Umar said...

This presidential election in Pakistan has turned out to be a one-sided affair as only a handful of the opposition members were among the 685 of the 1,170 eligible lawmakers who turned out to vote.

It was rigged.

Umar, 37

Kaisar said...

Musharraf took power in a 1999 coup. With his popularity crumbling, the General now says he would throw out his uniform if he wins a new five-year term next month. He has already won, it was planned.

Brilliant write up.

Kaisar, 36

ben said...

There is a opinion which feels that Musharraf has won half the battle with the go-ahead for elections and which could be a precursor to the eventual judgment in his favour.

Meanwhile, Islamabad continues to be in some sort of a maelstrom, if only to show how polarisation is governing polity.

Ben 35, London

AA qadri said...

The military is already striking back. One poignant moment of programmed madness was the beating up of Barrister Chaudhary Aitzaz Ahsan without provocation.

Now here is a man, any civilised nation would covet for his immeasurable and selfless service to the cause of justice and rule of law throughout his distinguished career. Not even his worst enemies dispute his propriety, decency and legal acumen.

Aitzaz also represents a rather lonely voice in his party, whose conscientious call on course correction has won him laurels from friends and admiration from foes alike.

He was the lawyer of Justice Chowdary. Shame that military is behaving in such high handed way.

Prof AA Qadri

NS Rao said...

It is an amazing commentary at the state of afairs of pakistan

NS Rao

Tim, Brussels said...

If Pakistan’s Supreme Court rules that General Musharraf is ineligible to be president, he must step down and allow what didn’t happen this weekend — a real free vote. If the court rules for him, then he must finally take off his uniform. He must ensure that parliamentary elections due early next year are free and fair, and he must finally lead his country in a credible transition from military to civilian democratic rule.

Tim, Brussels

YS Ganin said...


you have come up with a nice analysis in your usual witty style. Pakistan is sitting on top of a powder keg. With the insurgency, with discrepancies between rich and poor, the fact that they have nuclear weapons, makes it exceedingly difficult for anyone to take it lightly.

YS Ganin

fahim s said...

given that musharraf has his weak points but he is the best bet.