Saturday, August 13, 2005

Musharraf: Past His Sell-By Date? (Part I)

Late night on 12 October 1999 millions of Pakistanis - disgruntled by Nawaz Sharif’s despotic kleptocracy - watched with rising hopes as a palpably nervous General Musharraf appeared on television vowing to change the dismal prospect that faced the country and its hundred and sixty million citizens.

A few days later he appeared once more on television solemnly promising a period of sound governance based upon a seven-point commitment he then made to the nation.

To jog your memories here are the seven promises the General made to his countrymen. It is time to consider what became of them.

Pledge No. 1 • Rebuilding national confidence and morale

- It would perhaps be stating the obvious to suggest that Musharraf has acted on nationally vital issues only when prodded into action by Washington.
- The Pakistan government has never been so visibly externally influenced as under Musharraf’s reign. And so, in my view, with such loss of national sovereignty, any talk about ‘national confidence and morale’ becomes largely redundant.
- Further, the farce of the referendum endorsing Musharraf as ‘president’ and the manner in which prime ministers are dismissed and appointed (not forgetting Shaukat Aziz’s brazenly rigged elections in Attock and Tharparkar) has helped erode what little confidence that people may have placed in the current system of governance.

Pledge No. 2 • Strengthening the federation, removing inter-provincial disharmony and restoring national cohesion
- Consider Balochistan - Dera Bugti, Sui, Gwadar and the reported activities of the Balochistan Liberation Army in particular.
- Consider Sindh - Kalabagh Dam, the National Finance Commission (NFC) fiasco and the blatantly political gerrymandering of districts and constituencies.
- Consider NWFP - MMA government, Hasba Bill, Wana, Chief Minister Durrani’s disputes with the. National Security Council and NWFP’s Musharraf-appointed governor.
If anything, mistrust of the ‘majority province’ has more likely increased rather than abated during Musharraf’s time in power.

Pledge No. 3 • Reviving economy and restoring investor's confidence
- Admittedly the economy is in much better shape, but harsh reality indicates that it was only the rich who got richer , mostly through property and share market speculations.
- The World Bank and other international institutions are bemoaning the sharply increasing poverty levels among 60% of the population – the rural Pakistanis.
- What about the widespread rumors of members of the cabinet engaged in insider trading at the stock market and making their billions?
- And what about the plethora of land scams – from Gwadar to the ever burgeoning Defence, Behria and private housing schemes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are planning to launch a SAARC blog. Only rules: No political and or religious discussions. We want to creat a cultural fusion there.

May we ask you to join the team. Please reply at ( add some blurb about you as well. Thanks.