Do not spare him, but can’t we wait?
Letter to Editor
The Lal Masjid “Operation Silence” was meant to silence the ‘Red Mosque’ loudspeakers, and it did silence them for the time being, but, as the time passes, that silence is turning into heat. Musharraf is now in custody and every gun has turned its barrel at him. It has timed with the release of Lal Masjid Commission report that implicates Musharraf for the whole saga. As the turncoats have shifted from loyalty to bigotry, new storm seems to be in the making. This all is the cost Musharraf is meant to pay for his return to home country despite ‘saner advices’. The man from the best of armies has apparently fallen into a trap. A number of cases, including that of Lal Masjid, imposition of emergency, removal of the super judge and dismissal of elected government, are now out to decide his fate. What is on the surface seems to be gloomy. What is clear is the revenge of time that it takes from the taker. Time may not spare him. But daring was his step to stage a comeback. It is not that he didn’t know the consequences. He is not that stupid that he could not exactly gauge the reality of his following back in Pakistan. The ‘warm welcome’ at the airport, throwing of shoe at him in the court, and manhandling of his bodyguards etc is enough a humiliation for a former strongman, both a president and chief of army staff in one. One must appreciate that he chose a difficult task. What the course of law does to him is not clear but a group of terrorists, in a video message, threatened to kill him “come what may”. Nawaz Sharif says he can forgive Musharraf but law will not. As long as the law is in the ‘iron’ hands of Chief Justice, Musharraf family should not expect anything called leverage. Still people at the other end call it a drama but the ‘hero’, it seems, is destined to become ‘villain’ very soon.
Whatever is his fate, yet the ‘dictator’ was a “better democrat” and a “con economist”. What he gave to this country was missing before. The mushroom of TV channels, now almost all against him. The freedom of expression, no one – anchorperson or columnist – spared him. The economy of the country would never be as strong, at least in near future, as it was in his tenure. One doesn’t know whether Nawab Bugti was killed by his orders, but I admire his gesture of sparing Nawaz Sharif’s life who was meant to be his enemy number one at that time. Even, Musharraf was the first to call Nawaz Sharif to condole his father’s death, offering him any kind of facilitation in burial etc. He was open to media and available to speak, though it proved to be counterproductive. He shouldn’t have written “In the line of fire” that actually “ignited start of his downfall”. But if we consider the army of today under Gen Kayani as a subservient force and a guarantee to democracy, the credit must be given to Musharraf who handed over command to a man who earned laurels at home and abroad. Today Musharraf stands arrested; the credit must go to the legacy he had left. It may prove to be a long test of nerves for him but the reality is, he has daringly come back, though we believe he was better safe abroad.
The judge who issued his arrest orders is said have record of corruption and failed election attempts. He may or may have not been having personal or guided grudge, but the fact remains that newspaper reports and columns, TV channel bulletins and talk shows were full of demand for Lal Masjid operation. According to an analysis made by the reference section of a strong media group, 92% reports and comments criticized the authorities for not acting against, for delaying action and for calling the army to launch a sweeping operation. According to another survey conducted through social media networks, 42% people said “yes, it was right decision”, only 4% said “army is to be blamed”, 23% said “army was just order, it was government’s decision”, 16% said “no, government took the wrong decision” and 3% said “the Lal Masjid authorities are to be blamed.”
Shakespeare rightly said “when sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions”. This aptly describes the conundrum now facing Musharraf. “The place called Pakistan has gone through centuries of invasions from outside forces. This has conditioned the minds of common people and ruling elite. So when anyone is in power then nobody questions his judgment. They just massage his ego and tell him that everything is great. As soon as he is out of power then all of them come with stones. All of them want to take their revenge.” This is what is happening to Musharraf. None of his past colleagues gives any statement in his favor. Nobody talks about billions taken away by the politicians, under Zardari & Co. Law must take its course but before the law declares him guilty, we as a civilized nation must not subject him to punishment.
F Z Khan, G-8/4, Islamabad