Serious repercussions

Mir Mohammad Ali

In these wonderfully free times of the reign of enlightened moderation the procedure to get an exclusive interview with the General-President has been radically streamlined. All a TV channel has to do is to either request the Islamabad police to send its commandos to wreck the studios while the information minister is there or ask the goon run coalition partner of the Sindh government and of course Musharraf’s favorite to send their democracy and liberalism loving goons to bring it under small arm fire for a few hours. And Hey Presto the exclusive interview is granted.

There is no guarantee that pearls of wisdom will be showered or solutions of world problems forwarded but one thing is certain the mindset of the interviewee is duly exposed.

In his Aaj interview, on May 18, the General says that he had made only a verbal promise to doff the uniform in 2004. But later when the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) created a bad political aura, I had to change my mind, which was a difficult decision. Later on, the parliament allowed me to keep both caps. General Sahib there are no verbal or written promises, only true promises and false ones, kept promises or broken promises so kindly categorise your promise by that yardstick .

Questioned about retaining his uniform beyond 2007, Musharraf said, if the two-thirds majority of the parliament grants me the right to keep the uniform, I will consent to the popular mandate, after all this is democracy in which you cannot ignore the people’s will… A true democrat one would think, except for what came after that.

He threatened, yes sir, threatened that he could consider extra-constitutional measures to stay in office. But then if you consider the entire gamut of affairs since October 12th 1999 there has hardly even been a whiff of constitutionality. He is not prepared to leave due to our resentment alone. Those who live by the sword die by the sword.

Commenting on the May 12 violence in Karachi, Musharraf said the killings would not have happened if Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had returned to Islamabad. Musharraf backed the MQM”s decision to rally on May 12, saying that the MQM had the right to show its public strength.

He said, the violence in Karachi on May 12 would have happened even if the MQM called off its rally because the CJP and his supporters had to pass through the MQM-dominated areas and this would have challenged the partys clout in the city. He said, The CJP had to drive to Malir and other areas of the city that were MQM strongholds. What would have happened then when there is politics there is political response tooThe MQM is a strength in Karachi and no one can deny this fact. The lawyers rally was planned to pass through several areas that were MQM strongholds and could have led to serious repercussions. He also said that a legal issue had been politicised that had led to political answers, both at Islamabad and Karachi.

The fact that he calls the bloody response in Karachi and the farcical one in Islamabad as political exposes his gung-ho approach to a major crisis and is an ominous sign of things in store.

It as tragic as it ironic that the president, who congratulated his troops for hunting and eliminating Sardar Akbar Khan Bugti in the desolate Marri hills on grounds that he was challenging the writ of the state with his stronghold in Dera Bugti, says that the CJP had to drive to Malir and other areas of the city that were the MQM strongholds, and added, This would have challenged the party’s clout in the city and could have led to serious repercussions.

It should now be abundantly clear that any one intending to visit Karachi should obtain an NOC from the MQM before proceeding because otherwise it could lead to serious repercussions. The MQM can have strongholds in Karachi and its clout should not be challenged even by peaceful protestors.

If the MQM”s unchallengeable strongholds in the city of Karachi are acceptable with the consent and connivance of the upholder of the writ of the state then why can’t the Baloch, the Sindhis or the Pashtuns have traditional strongholds in their areas Is it because they are the children of lesser gods while the MQM is of the chosen few and close to the General’s heart What message does all this send to the already alienated nationalities there This policy of allowing one’s favorites to maintain officially sanctioned strongholds while other face full wrath of the state for lesser ills certainly will lead to serious repercussions in every aspect of life and prove hazardous.

These brazenly discriminatory policies have accentuated the existing contradictions and sharpened the conflict. If this support for the MQM continues it is certainly going to make some cities in Sindh veritable battlegrounds for ethnic conflict.

Musharraf said, Moderate and extremist forces would face each other in the forthcoming elections and he would ensure that moderate forces win the polls. What is that supposed to mean rigging, of course. If he decides who the moderates are and who the extremists and ensures that the moderates win, then fellow citizens, if he has his way, be prepared to suffer the clowns and the goons of the present dispensation for a long time to come.

Musharraf admitted that the government had made mistakes in the reference against the CJP. The president said his photograph with the CJP in uniform should not have been released to the media. In his Geo interview he said, I often remain in uniform and sometimes in plainclothes. He added, Should I have been in a sports kit.

Interestingly, differences in these two exclusive interviews are emerging, during the Geo interview, he said, when he called on me on March 9, I showed him the reference against him. I later called in the prime minister. I and the prime minister went off to say the Friday prayers as Justice Iftikhar read the detailed charge-sheet. In the Aaj interview, he said he discussed the presidential reference with the CJP and the latter demanded evidence of the charges against him. The president said on the CJP’s insistence, he summoned intelligence officials who had gathered proof against Justice Chaudhry.

As time passes and as the resentment against the autocratic rule gains momentum, there seems to be a slow but steady crumbling of the regime’s apparatus and a mishmash or rather a mushmash of approach, policies and statements. Once these signs and symptoms appear in a regime that is in power simply because of the backing of the army the prognosis is bleak.

The General-President certainly has plans for a long time in future. He has envisaged and planned certain measures for his continuance like his ensuring the success of moderates in the general elections after he has been duly elected by the present obsolete and cowardly assemblies. He also intends to respect the will of the people if the Parliament requests him to retain his uniform.

He certainly intends to continue respecting the clout that the MQM has in its strongholds; he also intends to keep supporting the moderates of the PML (Q) led by the valiant Chaudharies. He also intends to continue with building of cantonments and Kalabagh dams for development of the country. He also intends to crush people who are demanding their rights.

Will all these desires come to pass as he has reasoned with so much certainty Will all the plans fructify and unfold exactly the way he wants them to Well, I would advise caution to him and his over anxious supporters who would like to see him rule for eternity because without his backing these clowns would not even be considered for a councilor’s spot.

So my advice is to stop counting the chickens before they are hatched, because the largest of the recent eggs, i.e. the easy dismissal of an unfavourable CJP caused by a bumbling government, refused to hatch according to the script.

Anjum Niaz Sahiba in her May 13th column wrote this about Sharifuddin Pirzada, His latest client called him 10 minutes before roughing up the CJP at the Army House on March 9, thinking that the mischief would be over in a week. Pirzada advised that the matter would take 8-10 months.

The General had thought it would be over in a week but things tend to be driven by laws not affected or influenced by our desires. When one loses touch with reality and lives according to desires and wishes then serious repercussions are the inevitable result.

Murphy’s Law says if things can go wrong, they will go wrong and especially when you do not want them to and least expect them to go wrong.

In the end I would like quote the greatest Sindhi poet and sage Sain Shah Abdul Latif, he says:

Daha Dahap Kan Deenh Main Dah Dah Bhera

Wahid Khay Na Warnay Ta Witheen Maan Wahay Chaday

It means:

The wise may use their wisdom umpteen times a day

But If Allah isn’t willing, all Wisdoms come to a nay.

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He can be contacted at

This article was first published on 22 June 2007

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