November 4, 2009

I have said it once, and I will say it again. I remain, to this day, a Musharraf-fan. In response to outraged (oh-my-gawddd-don't-you-support-democracyyyy) gasps, I could spout a lot of officious sounding nonsense highlighting, for example, that I have a masters degree in anthropology focusing on politics and governance, I can quote off-the-top-of-my-head facts and figures comparing this government to the previous one or, failing-all-else I can point out of the window and say 'look, you idiot, look'. But, because it may, or may not make any difference to would-be-democrats out there, I won't waste my time - and your energy - on any of that.

Instead, I will tell you 'why' I decided - for the first time in my somewhat politically active life - to absolutely refuse to participate in a protest against le presidente, choosing instead to stay at home and shake my head at collective Pakistani idiocy. I decided to stay home that day because I did not believe then, and I do not believe now, that President General Parvez Musharraf was evil personified. Or a heartless military dictator. Or the resident idiot at the Presidency. (All of which, btw, I would - and have - said about Lord V. Except the military part, but as everyone knows, darling, you-gotta-have-balls to be in the army).

But I digress. I did not protest against Musharraf because I truly admire him. And I admire him because my father admired him. So what, ask you, should it matter to you who my father admired? Would Hitler have been exonerated, say you, if my father was fond of the man?

Good question.

In response to which I elaborate: I admire Musharraf because he could reach out and talk to people like my father and convince them - despite all that they've seen - that he was worthy of their respect. I admire Musharraf because everything he did - the good and the bad - was focused on maintaining, preserving and keeping together - this failing mess of a nation-state. And before the democracy-dogs start growling, let's clarify that YES he was a military man, YES he was not elected (unless you count the redundant referendum where I personally voted four times) and YES he made mistakes. But I still admire the man. I admire him because when you weigh everything (the non-democracy, the military expenditure, the violence in Balochistan, the Laal Masjid episode, the abrupt dismissal of CJ-darling) on one side, on my scale he still wins by virtue of one quality: leadership.

Musharraf was a man who inspired confidence. He spoke honestly, truly and without artifice. No one who saw him deliver one extempore after another could doubt that he 'knew' what he was talking about. When he stood there on the television and told you that he's sorry for your loss, you realized that he truly was sorry. When he stood there and told you that he honestly has no choice, you may not have agreed with him, but you had to appreciate that he deemed you worthy of explanation. When he stood in front of you and said good-bye, you would have to be truly heartless not to have cried. He was a man with many enemies, perhaps because he was intelligent, he gave as good as got and he took no quarter.

He was a man to be admired, and I truly wish he was still at the helm because perhaps he could have done no better, perhaps he would have done worse, but he - amongst all the other worthy pretenders to the title - would given our people what they need right now: strength, purpose, determination and most of all a direction.

Cyril asked us a question the other day: WHERE ARE OUR FUCKING LEADERS? My response is simple, they're on the other side of the border talking to 'India Today'. They're there because we drove them out. They're there because we protest against those who let us talk, but when others threaten us with 14-years in prison we shut-the-fuck-up. We are pathetic. Which would be why we don't deserve any better.


Aneela Z said...

naheeee xeb yeh sunney sey pehley may mar kiyoo nahee gayee...uff meree aankhey bhagwan.
Our tragedy is that each buffoon makes his predecessor look intelligent. yes musharraf was glib, i give him that and he had his good points but sweetheart in his bumblings are the bombings of today, paying Mehsud hush money for one. and do remember he broke his first promise as a contributing citizen when he got his naukri (to uphold teh constitution at the time of commission) if he could break that promise tau what good his extra-curricular activities hainjee

Desert Mystery said...

Bravo! Couldn't agree with you more on Mush! The current group of bandits isnt fit to run a lemonade stand.

Cant even find no freaking sugar in even Defense these days. WTF?!? If they have an ounce of shame they should resign in mass.

poisson said...


Lonely Perverted Soul said...

LOl... i always find it funny.. When people talk abt our politics so seriously... No offense.. :P

Asfandyar said...

The funny thing is (and I confess, I've always been a Mushy fan but he was getting out of hand near the end of his 'term' - for lack of a better word at the moment) that Musharraf laid the foundations of the forces that eventually ousted him.

He let Nawaz back in the name of reconciliation. He let the media have free reign. He allowed the middle class to flourish, to exist in an environment where rich kids can partake in a protest with their nestle water bottles and 12mp digicams and photograph themselves 'protesting.'

And frankly, no outright evil leader would ever be stupid enough to let the public have so much power.

That said, we're kind of, in terms of economics, in the shitter because of him and Shaukat Aziz as well.

Swings and roundabouts though, I guess.

mehreenkasana said...

"That said, we're kind of, in terms of economics, in the shitter because of him and Shaukat Aziz as well."

^ Vote.

the sheikh said...

I had no problem with Musharraf till until the later part of his reign.

The forces that wanted Musharraf out had been around since the day he assumed power but he only got ousted once he REALLY started fucking up.

The man did a lot of good for us, I agree. But it doesn't mean he didn't deserve to be kicked out when he messed up.

Salman Latif said...

Comparing the current democratic government and an army general is rather invalid.
Had democracy been let to run continuously as many years as the army has seen to it's establishment, we wouldn't be producing the shit we are, through voting. It takes time and time is what we never gave it - always taking the short-term better-looking alternatives that we found in the charismatic person of army generals.