Articles of the year 2007

The high cost of Incompetence
Published on November 10th, 2007

The Musharraf Government is facing its biggest Constitutional Crisis since taking power in 1999, and can only blame itself for the position it finds itself in. I have stated that the incompetence of the representatives of the Government has repeatedly been exposed on Television. As far back as last November I had warned that the huge number of Channels would be a deciding force in moulding Public opinion in the country. Even then it was apparent that the President himself would have to appear on TV to correct some of the misconceptions that would creep in from time to time.

This should have been deemed as unacceptable and counter measures taken to bring forward new and effective media managers, but sycophancy has its own fault-lines, the ultimate being the downfall of the object of the sycophant. A scant three weeks ago the bookies in the Stock Exchange were giving odds of ten to one on of the SC decision going in favour of Musharraf! Yet in this short period of time the opinion had swung the other way, and the Emergency had to be declared. It was a complete failure of the Media team, and the Lawyers of the Government. A winning position had been squandered into an abysmal defeat. The incompetence of the Lawyers in the Courts and the Ministers on Television was painful to witness. Slowly but surely the advantage slipped away. Today the Nation stands at its most vulnerable, with divisive forces snapping at its heels. The discredited political parties were made to look good by the ineptitude on display by Durrani, and Qayum.

Time and again, Babar Awan, and Aitzaz Ahsan in every appearance on TV made an indefensible position (the Swiss cases)look rock solid. Resulting in Benazir making the NRO look completely redundant. That the damage was multiplied manifold by the number of Channels on view, and this was being translated by the bookies into hard numbers, and had also obviously been registering with their Lordships. The imposition of the Emergency was a foregone conclusion. The General is fighting his most difficult battle, for Bush and Condoleeza are both venturing their own inputs relayed in public as well, which will be welcome ammunition for his enemies. The reality is the absence of a credible leader to replace Musharraf, showing the limit of our options,it is also evident from the US and World reactions, that they expect Musharraf to pull the chestnuts form where his inept advisers have put them, for there is apparently no one else. Not even Benazir can offer an alternate to Musharraf at this time.

And it is for this reason, he should put together some hard nosed advisers who must be chosen for their ability to tell him the truth. He should also create a media cell that uses the huge media machine installed by him to give the Public (which is still on his side and rapidly diminishing) the true picture, without censorship which is always counterproductive. In suspending the channels across the board PEMRA has done Musharraf a disservice by blocking innocent entertainment as well. The Ministry of Information should be disbanded, including PTV, which may be charged as being totally out of touch with reality, and inept. This incompetence is the main cause for the success of the Cable channels!The Pakistanis should have the Americans apologizing for their backing of a corrupt leadership being brought again through American muscle. It is akin to the Nazi Party being forgiven their murderous corrupt history, and washing away their sins, to lead Germany again.

If Musharraf wants to lead Pakistan, then,as he has been elected President by the assemblies, ( including the support of Benazir) which support she is already withdrawing—proving her ability to change tack midstride, he must go back to his allowing the judiciary and the media freedom as before. He has always been admired as the least painful of all our leaders. We remember the excruciating pain of the ZAB, the Zia, the BB,Nawaz regimes. The midnight Knock. He is far far better than all of them. However, the PCO is changing this, and needs to be put aside as soon as possible, for it will show that repression has not been swept away, and before the outstanding achievement of Musharraf's is negated in weeks---- a legacy that took eight long years to establish.He should also bring the Sharifs back to Pakistan, to complete the quorum. Without them the Troika is an unnatural being, as a three legged animal does not exist, not even in Fairy tales. He cannot exclude nor ignore a party with such a large grass roots support. That too, in the Punjab. Making Nawaz the main force in Pakistan. The Q, and the F and indeed the PPP will be unable to unite the masses, as the Nawaz group can. Musharraf must quickly bring the Sharif's on board. He has helped Benazir to the periphery of Power, and I would suggest a quick reread of 'the Prince' which book has been staple reading for the Bhuttos. The first rule being " Always remove those who helped you take power". From the newspaper reports of her utterances, she is already targeting the General, exactly 24 hours after the NRO has been ratified. The high cost of the incompetence of the Presidential team has now put the President and Pakistan into a more dangerous situation than was imagined earlier.