Posted by: uss017 | December 1, 2017

Analysing Dawn’s Incoherent Gobbledygook against Musharraf

Analysing Dawn’s Incoherent Gobbledygook against Musharraf

Desperate to launch an attack upon Musharraf, Dawn has spewed out an editorial piece lambasting Musharraf’s recent comments regarding Hafiz Saeed and Lashkare-e-Taiba. The author commits multiple factual errors and presents logically unsound statements.

I’ll deal with these problems below. Since the author appears to lack elementary comprehension skills, I will also comment upon Musharraf’s position in the final paragraphs.

To begin with, during Musharraf’s term in office, we are told that “significant steps” were taken against militants and that “many militant” groups were outlawed and “at least nominal clampdowns enforced.” A few paragraphs thereafter, however, we read, “After nearly a decade in charge, militants were rampant…society was under the influence of growing extremism.” How the latter is Musharraf’s “fault” is not explained. The law and order situation, in general, was markedly better throughout Musharraf’s term in office. However, the security situation deteriorated thereafter. Far from being Musharraf’s fault, it was the incompetency of the subsequent civilian regime which created problems. Militants rose up and took control of a large territory due to the appeasement approach of the post-Musharraf administration. Instead of blaming them, the author takes a cheap shot at Musharraf. Had the policies of the Musharraf regime continued unabated, it is most unlikely that the likes of Sufi Muhammad would have been able to raise their ugly heads. We should also fault former Army Chief Kiyani. His slow move against the terrorists and high tolerance level of appeasement initiatives towards extremists made a bad situation worse. Yet let us be clear: we are here dealing with a post-Musharraf Pakistan, when the policies of the Musharraf regime were pretty much discarded and replaced. Thus, to blame Musharraf for the follies of others is absurd.

The Musharraf regime is dubbed as “destructive” and it is also claimed that the “the economy had tanked” under Musharraf. However, if facts matter, then these assertions are to be duly dismissed. The Musharraf regime has been probably the most beneficial for Pakistan when it comes to its economy, education, industry, jobs, and freedom in general. This has already been documented in multiple locations (for example, see this and this). Briefly, the Pakistani economy more than doubled in size under Musharraf and there was notable poverty alleviation, with large scale development projects taking place throughout the country. The Pakistani media flourished for the very first time under Musharraf, where we witnessed the media openly criticising, disagreeing with and even mocking a sitting Head of State, with little or no adverse reaction from the regime. This was unimaginable in the “democratic era” in the decade before Musharraf. The Pakistani economy, under Musharraf, did so well indeed that the “democratic” PPP regime had no choice but to acknowledge this fact and use this as an argument to convince the IMF to secure hefty loans. To quote a small section from PPP’s “Letter of Intent” sent to the IMF (emphasis added), “In the last decade, Pakistan’s economy witnessed a major economic transformation. The country’s real GDP increased from $60 billion in 2000/01 to $170 billion in 2007/08 …” (see here)

Hatred for Musharraf should not be an excuse for merely spewing outright lies, as has been done in this instance in the Dawn editorial.

If anything, the above stands as a far stronger justification for why Pakistan can do substantially better – as it indeed has in the past – without the [sham] democracy advocated so enthusiastically by short-sighted proponents of PPP and PML-N.

Moving on, our author writes:

“Unable to deal with his ouster after a revolt by Pakistani society, Mr Musharraf has tried to establish himself as a legitimate political alternative to no avail.”

This is a curious statement which presents multiple difficulties. First, how does the author know that Musharraf has been “unable” to deal with his ouster? This judgement calls for knowing the operation of one’s mind. For this assertion to hold weight, the author needs to prove his/her mindreading ability. The fact that Musharraf made the decision to resign and lives happily should more appropriately be taken as an indication that he came to terms with the matter adequately. Secondly, there was no “revolt” by “Pakistani society” at any stage. A segment of rowdy lawyers does not constitute “Pakistani society.” Life was going on perfectly fine, almost all ordinary people, the society at large, went about its usual routine, uninvolved with the aforementioned segment of lawyers and their corrupt political backers. Subsequently, after PPP attained power, thanks to the sympathy votes in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, Musharraf decided to resign when PPP and PML-N began their political campaign. Therefore, the resignation was not a “response” to a “revolt by Pakistani society” for the simple reason that one did not exist. Third, why is Musharraf not a “legitimate” political alternative? No reasons and arguments are provided to substantiate this judgement. That he has not been able to forcefully conduct a sustained political campaign in Pakistan and attain a strong political footing does nothing to lessen his legitimacy as an alternative unless, of course, the author equates political legitimacy with political strength. In short, one can be a perfectly legitimate political alternative, even if lacking the political strength. Whilst already possessing full political legitimacy, we are confident that Musharraf will also acquire political strength if he can, without hurdles, directly lead his political campaign in Pakistan.

Our author also chides Musharraf for choosing “self-exile rather than facing a treason trial.” The fact that Musharraf appeared before the courts in multiple occasions in Pakistan and vigorously fought all politically motivated cases, often in the face of openly hostile and prejudiced judges, proceeding to travel abroad legitimately, is conveniently overlooked. Also ignored is the fact that Musharraf will soon be returning to Pakistan to face the previously faced cases. Be that as it may, it is perfectly valid for Musharraf to demand fair proceedings and for him to call for a cessation of political interference in the judicial process. Once this occurs, Musharraf will counter all cases.

Finally, returning to the original issue of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hafiz Saeed, a few words are necessary. Firstly, the larger context of Musharraf’s statements should not be ignored, his overarching point being: Indian assertions and their narrative should not be accepted as the gospel truth. Thus, just because the Indians assert that the Lashkar was responsible for the Mumbai attacks, it does not mean that they are right. Secondly, Musharraf calls upon Pakistanis to trust what their military says just as the Indians tend to trust and defend the positions adopted by their military. Third, Musharraf clarified that when dialogue with India on the Kashmir dispute began and picked up pace during his administration, action was taken against all elements attempting to jeopardise the dialogue. Musharraf views Hafiz Saeed and the Lashkar as fighting specifically Indian occupation forces and not as attacking civilians. This context is necessary when considering Musharraf’s recent comments, a context which he himself has provided on multiple occasions.

Nothing in Musharraf’s statements have potential by any stretch of imagination to “cause harm” to Pakistan. What has caused definite harm to Pakistan, however, is the remarkable inability of the current corruption-embroiled-murder-committing PML-N regime to forcefully present Pakistan’s narrative on the international stage. Apparently, our author is oblivion to or unconcerned about this sad reality.

In conclusion, what is clear is that Dawn, or whoever can counsel restraint, convey the importance of sticking with the truth, and make clear the need to abide by facts, needs to urgently perform an exorcism ritual upon the author of Dawn’s editorial piece to put an end to his silly diatribes.

© Musharraf Supporters 2017 All rights reserved

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