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7th May '2013
Tilwein Wanas Maachgun

In Kashmiri Tilwein Wan is the cooking oil sellers shop. It is supposed to be dirty and oily all over. Anyone or anything going into the shop is definitely going to be soiled by the oily things spread all over the place. Maachgun is the equivalent of a honey comb, the nest built by bees with wax having many small chambers to store honey. The bees take the nectar from the flowers and then they come into the nest to produce and store honey. It is a very neat and clean operation. Honey comb is a very clean thing and if it is built in an oil sellers shop it is bound to get soiled and the honey too will be spoiled. In short, a honey comb in an oily shop is a disaster!

Musharraf’s coming back and getting stuck in a web is just like the bees building a honey comb in an oil shop! Not only is he getting soiled but is in mortal danger because of the extremist threats. He had started his tenure as the self-imposed ruler of Pakistan in a very dramatic fashion in 1999. His plane was still circling in the sky in an attempt to land with barely 10 minutes of fuel left in the tanks when the civilian government was overthrown by his fellow generals. It was a blood less coup, one of the dozen Pakistan has seen in last sixty years since its creation in 1947. It is for the first time that a General who had led a coup is on trial. Somehow western style democracy does not gel with the people of that country. The main reason for that is the basic feudal structure of the society. It is the same land lords, Sardars, Waderas, and Chowdharys and their progeny who are in every sphere of life. They alone come up again and again. It is virtually a “Feudocracy”.

In Pakistan, the cream of the society consisting of the progeny of feudal lords has always formed the core of the officer corps in their army. Inter-Services Intelligence is the crème de la crème of this officer corps which has given itself the “divine role” of defending the concept of Pakistan from behind the scenes. Nothing moves in any branch of the state without their consent and they oversee every development. They are the invisible defenders of Pakistan. Initially, Pervez Musharraf did not intend to take over the role of a ruler. He was rather forced by Nawaz Sharif to do so. However, once he was in the saddle, he felt destiny had chosen him to lead and defend Pakistan. He started as an “Officer and a Gentleman”. He had very high flown ideals and wanted to create an enlightened and progressive Islamic country. For him it was, “Pakistan First”. Even though some of his ideas seemed utopian, yet he was not divorced from the stark ground reality which had made Pakistan appear as the most dangerous place to live in. Musharraf on taking over coined a new phrase for modern Muslims. He called it “Enlightened Moderation”. It is a blend of Islam and western values. A liberal and progressive outlook on life which combines basic tenets of Islam with modernised western life style. He professed the new mantra of “Enlightened Moderation” in all the forums within the country as well as abroad.

The clerics who were ruling the roost among the common masses in some of the volatile regions did not buy his new dispensation. Pakistan seems to have people of two extremes, either a minority of westernised intellectuals or fanatic religious zealots professing all out Jihad to reform the world! There is nothing in between. During his early years he was able to muster world support because of his unconditional fight against global terrorism manifested through 9/11 incident. He took the extremists head on to keep the west on his right side and in this process ruffled many feathers especially the originators of Taliban who lived in his own backyard. His enthusiasm to catch the bull of terrorism by the horns created a large constituency of his sworn enemies. Even though he came from the Special Services Group with a commando background yet he made the mistake of opening too many fronts at one and the same time.

On the positive side, he did manage to pull Pakistan out of a debt trap and raised foreign exchange reserves from US $ 1.6 billion to US $ 16 billion. Economy had started looking up with massive foreign investments. Infrastructure in the form of roads, ports, dams and so on was getting developed on global standards. He gave absolute freedom to media which ultimately misused it to undermine not only him but the very existence of Pakistan itself. His negative side has been the common mistake committed by leaders in this part of the world of considering themselves to be indispensable and thinking to have been given a “divine role” for reforming their nations and countries. Unfortunately they do not know when to leave and get thrown out!

His main blunder has been taking Judiciary head on. Probably he was ill advised about this step?The Judiciary did not remain fair and just. It got totally politicised and when it was heading towards ensuring his humiliation after getting duly elected, he struck with a well-planned and calculated move. He imposed virtual army rule but without the army being visible anywhere. However, he could not save himself and had to leave to save his skin. He undertook a world tour to explain his position. Somehow, he seems to have got the wrong information that he was very popular with the people which made him commit a virtual suicide. He took the extreme step of returning to the highly volatile Pakistan where a large number of people were gunning for him. His future is uncertain and it depends upon the new elected government. It is also generally felt that the army would not like its former chief being humiliated. But one is compelled to say that his return has been definitely like the Kashmiri saying of, “Tilwein Wanas Maachgun”!

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