Mir Jamilur Rahman
Mr Pervez Musharraf, in a recent outburst, called President Zardari “a criminal, a fraud and a third-rater”. Short of calling Zardari a bloody civilian, Musharraf called a number of colourful names that he thought best describe our president. By calling Mr Zardari names, Musharraf has tarnished the uniform he wore for 44 years and degraded himself.
President Zardari is heavily criticised every day, which he takes in his stride without getting upset. Musharraf sits in his London home and pontificates that Zardari is not patriotic. He does not attack Zardari’s policies but uses filthy language against him. He has used the word ‘third-rater’ for Zardari, but Musharraf’s foul tongue has made him a ‘tenth-rater’. He has held the two most important offices in Pakistan, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and president. Nawaz Sharif is responsible for creating the mother of all follies by appointing him as the COAS. The presidency he grabbed with the help of junior army officers.
Musharraf has been the absolute ruler of Pakistan for nine years but has contributed zero to the well-being of the people. The energy, atta and sugar crises are his legacies. He is now making vain attempts to convey to the people that he is still an important actor in Pakistani politics. He backs up this false assertion by claiming that he and General Kayani are still in contact. One wonders what he talks about with General Kayani. There is nothing common between the two. One is a fighter engaged in cleansing Pakistan of militants and the other is the defeated Kargil general. One respects the democratic authority and the other loathes it. One speaks the truth and the other is a proclaimed liar.
It is very risky for a newspaper to call somebody a liar for fear of legal battle. But the Washington Post did it four years ago. In its editorial titled ‘Gen Musharraf lies’, the paper called Musharraf a bare-faced liar. It was a serious allegation and had it not been proven, it would have brought millions of dollars to Musharraf in libel damages.
An American journalist describes the episode in the following words: our commando-in-chief can only grit his teeth in the face of damning proof of his mendacity. After making his infamous comment during a Washington Post interview in 2005, insinuating that Pakistani women seek to get raped to make money and obtain foreign visas, he was daft enough to subsequently deny it. The commando-in-chief actually went on record to say: “Let me say with total sincerity that I never said that and it has been misquoted. These are not my words, and I would go to the extent of saying I am not so silly and stupid to make comments of this sort.”
He was lying to acquit himself from an awful remark against Pakistani women, but was damned by his own words. The Post not only stood by its interview but also put voice clip of the ex-army chief on its website. Since then, Musharraf promised many things including taking off his uniform, thus earning the title of ‘proclaimed liar’.
The women of Pakistan were outraged at Musharraf’s rape comments: “you must understand the environment in Pakistan. This (rape) has become a ‘money-making concern’ and many argued it was a way to get money and a visa to emigrate. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad, get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.”
Musharraf could have saved face by apologising to the Pakistani women. However, he lacked the courage to admit his imprudence, just the way he lacked courage to admit his Kargil blunder.
The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(The News, 17 Nov 2009)