Posted by: uss017 | January 9, 2018

Analysing the Short & Deficient Memory in Dawn’s Latest Error-Ridden Anti-Musharraf Ranting

Analysing the Short & Deficient Memory in Dawn’s Latest Error-Ridden Anti-Musharraf Ranting

It gives us immense pleasure to, once again (see previous reply), point out the glaring deficiencies in an anti-Musharraf Editorial piece published today in Dawn, entitled “Musharraf & MQM.”  The irony is difficult to miss: the author repeatedly mentions the “short memories” of people and yet has composed a piece which ignores elementary historical facts. As if this was not enough, right from the get-go, we encounter statements which can only be labelled, at best, bizarre. Consider, for example, his very first sentence:

“EVEN by the standards of Pakistani politics, the call by Pervez Musharraf for the MQM to “shun the politics of ethnicity” is rich.”

Why is it “rich?” What is the reason for making such a comment, particularly when we know as a matter of fact that “Pakistan First” has been Musharraf’s slogan from day one and he has consistently spoken out against ethnic divides? No arguments and reasons are submitted by the author to justify his statement. Perhaps, the urge is simply to make a negative comment just for the sake of it.

The authors polemic consists of two points:

1. Musharraf “brought” the MQM in “from the cold”
2. Musharraf “brashly” celebrated “…his triumph at the end of that sad day [12/05-07], claiming it a victory for his regime …”

Both polemics will be addressed below.

1. Musharraf “bringing in” the MQM “from the cold”

What does the author mean by the statement that MQM was in the “cold?” This is not clarified. Does this mean that the MQM had been vanquished thanks to the operation in the 90s? Does it mean that the MQM, on the blessed day of 12/10/99, was weak, flimsy, being no political force, with no public support? What does it really mean that MQM was “brought in from the cold?” If any of these interpretations are correct, then we can safely conclude that the author displays poor memory because he/she is factually erroneous: the MQM was a force to be reckoned with in Karachi prior to Musharraf’s arrival to the scene. The massive operation against it in the 90s failed to destroy it; if anything, it further increased the ethnic divide and won for the MQM even more fervent hardcore support from the Urdu-speaking community.

Secondly, what does the author mean by “Musharraf brought the MQM in…”? How did he “bring in” the MQM? Did Musharraf just declare one bright sunny day, “My fellow countrymen, today I declare that MQM – which, by the way, had been destroyed/vanquished/substantially decimated thanks to the 90s operation – will be brought back into Pakistani politics. I am happy to announce that MQM will now manage the day to day administration of Karachi and you must accept my decision.” The statement about Musharraf “bringing in” the MQM would make perfect sense as a negative comment if the mythical scenario painted above had transpired. Alas, it did not. We are again dealing here with the author’s utterly deficient memory because, during Musharraf’s term in office, the MQM contested elections and won repeatedly in Karachi. This is just a fact, whether one likes it or not. MQM enjoyed widespread public support before, during and even after the operation, winning elections repeatedly whenever it took part in the democratic process. They were not just “granted” a position of power through a “proclamation.”

The only way to keep the MQM out of politics was either to ban it completely, or to kill off and/or imprison all its members. Is this the desire of our dictatorship-hating author? If not, then his comments make no sense.

Thus, in short, the narrative of MQM being “in the cold” and Musharraf then suddenly “bringing it in” are reflective of the author’s utterly distorted memory.

2. Musharraf’s supposed “celebration” of the Karachi carnage on 12/05/07

The author continues to impress us with his deficient memory when he/she blurts out the following gem:

“…many of those who lived through the events of May 12, 2007 can hardly forget the image of Musharraf brashly celebrating his triumph at the end of that sad day, claiming it a victory for his regime that the ousted chief justice of the Supreme Court was prevented from leaving Karachi airport through a widespread exercise of violence that left nearly 50 dead and scores injured, the metropolis paralysed and memories of the 1980s revived.”

There are too many memory-related problems in this short paragraph:

A. “…Musharraf brashly celebrating his triumph at the end of that sad day…” – this is a deceitful statement because Musharraf was “celebrating” the turnout of the crowd of supporters in Rawalpindi on this day. He was not “celebrating” or referring to the killings which transpired in Karachi on the same day. The latter event was a developing story – all the facts had not come out and had not reached Musharraf when he was addressing a large gathering of supporters in Rawalpindi. The sentence conveys an utterly misleading impression.

B. The remainder of the statement is, likewise, an outright lie: in this address to the supporters in Rawalpindi, Musharraf did NOT “claim victory” by referring to the ousted Chief Justice’s prevention from departing Karachi airport “through a widespread exercise of violence …” This is, very literally, the author engaged in the activity of MAKING-IT-UP. To rectify the author’s embarrassingly poor memory, Musharraf was simply celebrating the outpouring of the masses in his support in Rawalpindi, having made NO reference whatsoever to the bloodbath that occurred in Karachi on the same day, for the simple reason that he did not know about its occurrence at this stage.

The author asks an innocent question, “Perhaps someone should ask him what exactly he was celebrating at that moment.” To aid his/her poor memory, we must remind him that Musharraf explained this on the very day in question, when he explained in his speech that he was celebrating the outpouring of his supporters in front of him in Rawalpindi.

C. The author’s deficient memory is particularly striking at this point. There were 3 political parties involved in the Karachi violence: the MQM, the ANP and the PPP. These three have been engaged in violent activities against each other long before Musharraf came to the scene. On 12/05/07, members of the MQM, PPP and ANP indulged in large-scale violence: workers of MQM targeted their PPP and ANP opponents whereas the workers of the latter two parties also targeted members of the MQM. Therefore, there is blood in the hands of all three political parties. There are video clips (for example, see this) available all over the internet which show workers of all three parties carrying firearms and targeting their opponents.
Not once in his tirade does our author refer to the above well-known reality and merely conveys the misleading impression as if the MQM alone, out of the blue, began killing off its political rivals on the streets of Karachi who were, presumably, carrying flowers.

This utterly misleading impression is further reinforced when the author makes another comment highlighting his problematic memory: “The MQM, however, is different because of its use of violence, tactics that its very party infrastructure was designed to facilitate.” The bizarreness of the “party infrastructure” being “designed to facilitate” violence aside, we encounter here another factual error: that the MQM is “different” from other parties due to its use of violence. A simple cursory glance over Pakistan’s political landscape from the 70s to the present times will immediately reveal that in addition to the MQM, the PPP, Jamaat and the ANP have a rich and vibrant history of violence, thuggery and killings. The PPP’s PSF (Pakistan Students Federation), for example, under such enlightened leaders as the late Najeeb, committed murders and acts of terror in Karachi. The Jamaat too is well renowned for thuggish behaviour and murders. The ANP is also not a pacifist party. Therefore, as far as violence is concerned, the MQM has been NO DIFFERENT FROM any other political party (excluding newcomers such as the PTI and APML).

I now move on to other MQM related matters. The author writes:

“In the mid 2000s, it made a brief, abortive attempt to grow out of the confines of ethnic politics when it tried to establish a presence in Punjab and rename itself the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. However, it was Musharraf who dragged it back into the quagmire of a violent, ethnically articulated politics when he struck a deal with it for the 2002 elections.”

Nothing here makes logical sense and no effort is made to explain how the 2002 election deal “derailed” the effort of the MQM to rebrand itself as multi-ethnic and peaceful. In elections, like-minded political forces often form a united front against their political opponents in order to gain the majority of seats in parliament. This is a common occurrence. Thus, in the 2002 General Elections, the PML-Q and the MQM formed a united front, thereby being in a position to form a government, with MQM attaining power in Sindh. How does this stand in tension with the MQM’s above referred re-branding effort? Were they to let go of their powerbase to become multi-ethnic? Do we know of any political party anywhere which gives up its powerbase? Thus, the MQM tried to move beyond ethnic politics and it continued with this effort, while maintaining its core base. There was no “deal” which hampered the rebranding effort of the MQM. Moreover, political violence in Karachi during the Musharraf administration had significantly reduced.

The author continues with the bizarre comments and writes, “… he [Musharraf] should spare the citizens of Karachi his lectures on how to conduct their affairs or who to vote for…” In other words, he/she wants Musharraf not to engage in an activity which is the basic right of all operating in the political sphere. Politicians want people to vote for them, for their party and to support their stance on various issues. To achieve this goal, they routinely present their arguments and ASK people to vote for them. Any individual who aspires to enter politics has no choice but to tell voters who to vote for and to convey his/her perspective to the masses. One would be more on the mark to advice the author to keep his weird thoughts confined to him/herself.

To conclude with the author’s own words, there is certainly no doubt that there are people in the country with short memories, the author of Dawn’s editorial piece being the prime example.

© Musharraf Supporters 2018 All rights reserved



  1. Excellent refuttal. The media men and journalist are paid entities of politicians, establishment or media moguls. They work not for journalism, integrity or truth – they work for personal interests. Thank you for exposing those biased against President Musharraf.

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