Articles of the year 2007

The New American Stance
Published on November 17th, 2007

The situation in Pakistan, vis a vis the Americans is becoming more confusing with each passing day. Saturday 10th Nov. saw an article in the prestigious New York Times titled " House of Graft", wherein all the financial misdeeds of Benazir and Asif were rehashed. These were all facts that most Pakistanis were aware of, and yet under extreme American pressure (Condoleeza Rice and her State Dept) the NRO was promulgated to drop all charges of corruption against Benazir and her husband. Musharraf admitted in private that there was little choice in the matter but for the sake of a political new beginning all the Parties had to be brought into the fold, and a new chapter opened. After these accommodations, it was surprising that Benazir immediately entered her confrontational mode and fired her opening salvos even before boarding the plane in Dubai, which was to carry her to her Karachi welcome, at a cost of 142 lives.

The appearance of the NYT article is therefore surprising, and shows that the US media, has fallen out of love with their Pakistani sweetheart, who is now being pilloried by their leading newspaper. For my readers let me explain that the NYT has maybe five (tops) readers in our Nation of 160 mill. But the readership worldwide is huge. And comprises a 'must read' for some of the most influential people of the world. These opinion makers must now be wondering why our President was pushed into her 'deal', especially since these facts were already known, and this 'deal' was strongly resisted by Pakistani politicians of all stripes, some are still behind bars for being too vocal in their protests! The article is two weeks too late, for it could have saved Musharraf the embarrassment of giving cover and exoneration to avowed and well publicized corruption, by his NRO. Not even the Nigerians have been the participants of such detailed wrongdoing. The only thing missing was an auditors certificate. Showing that we are indeed a class act. We should have a discussion with the Americans, for after the promulgation of the NRO, a rehash of a ten year old article will embarrass our already beleaguered President, not to mention our 'neverdidanythingwronginmylife' Bhutto. And that too in the NYT, which in most journalistic circles is considered near-gospel, and in third world countries the name itself is mentioned with hushed reverence. So we should enquire as to the timing of the article. The facts are not disputed—not even by Benazir herself, but ten years after the first print?

There is also a letter written by Benazir Bhutto to Peter Galbraith which has been reprinted in all the major newspapers. If true (the grammar and spelling should have her degree revoked) it is indeed the most damaging indictment against Benazir, which has her appealing to the Americans to bring the Pakistani Govt and the Army to its knees. Under the present Army Act a charge of Treason could apply. The Bhuttos have always insisted that they are above the law, this misconception should be corrected immediately.

Mr. Musharraf, the people of Pakistan are surprised that in your TV appearances you gave the impression that you would not accommodate Benazir at the cost of the other political parties. Yet she has managed to squeeze all her concessions from the Government without any favours in return, on the other hand she has raised the temperature many degrees. Making dialogue impossible.It seems, Mr.President, having achieved her objective, which was primarily the dropping of the cases against her, that the hype she is creating is aimed at boycotting of the elections, where she has decided that because she cannot win, she must create an impression that it is Musharraf who is not giving her an equal opportunity. That is rubbish. For today with the new alignments in Sindh between MQM and Pagara, her PPP stands out manned and outgunned. Even poor Chaudri Aitzaz is close to realizing where he really stands--- with her. Nowhere. In real terms this may be a good time to bail out. Before she waltzes off leaving her poor workers to struggle on, with stalwarts such as Chaudri Aitzaz who have toiled (thanklessly we hear) left to suffer in their Cells.

The time has come for Musharraf to evaluate the chaos around him and this time make the right decision. Being rid of the odious assemblies, a National Govt comprising of the Parties. PPP.N Q MQM F and MMA. should be formed, and the Emergency withdrawn. Under this National Govt the elections should be held. There is no other way, tempers are already high, and rising. The people are not yet in the streets, and this is an indicator of Musharraf's following. They are not willing to give more blood for such leaders as are arrayed against him. Unless, perhaps, if Fatima were to throw her dopatta in the ring, clean, honest educated, highly articulate, with a history of suffering. The horrific murder of her Father within earshot at the hands of an administration headed by her Aunt as Prime Minister. The credentials are blue chip. Perhaps….