For those who may not be overly familiar with the history of our previous Head Chowkidars, here is a brief potted history:
General Iskander Mirza
President Iskander Mirza - the 1st hijacker of constitutional government - imposed martial law on 7 October 1958 and was overthrown three weeks later by his own army chief, General Ayub Khan.
Subsequently, Mirza suffered a lonely life in exile, in a state of near-poverty, for eleven years before dying in London in 1969. Sadly for him, even his body was denied burial in Pakistan by the Yahya Khan’s military government. It was finally laid to rest in Iran.
General Ayub Khan
After overthrowing President Iskander Mirza, Ayub Khan strutted on the political stage for 11 years. Eventually the self-styled 'Field Marshal' was betrayed by his own chosen subordinate, General Yahya Khan, who deliberately undermined Ayub’s grip on power by depriving him of crucial army support during nationwide unrest in 1969.
After his dismissal Ayub Khan retired unceremoniously to his village near Abbotabad, where he died in 1974 as a lonely and near-forgotten man.
General Yahya Khan
Having achieved high power after betraying his mentor, Yahya Khan was destined to occupy the presidency for a short time. After a period of gross mismanagement of national affairs which resulted in deaths of tens of thousands of Pakistanis, a crippling war defeat at the hands of India and a catastrophic break up of Pakistan, Yahya Khan was booted out of power by his own officers (General Gul Hassan et al) who opted to replace him with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto - ironically the only civilian Martial Law Administrator in modern world history. Bhutto immediately placed Yahya in detention.
After eight long years of a humiliatingly disgraced existence, Yahya died an uncelebrated death in August 1980.
In 1977 the meglomaniacal Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was turfed out of power by his hand-selected obsequious (and supposedly unthreatening) Army Chief Zia ul Haq.
After clinging onto power for over eleven long years this scheming charlatan was blown from out of the sky by his own officers. Rumours suggest that all that was recovered of Zia’s remains from the plane-crash site was a solitary jawbone.
From these histories one can notice three common factual threads emerging:
- Not one of these Chowkidars could stay in power indefinitely.
- In the end all of them were betrayed by their own uniformed subordinates.
- Once out of power, with the exception of Zia’s flaming exit, they all suffered sad and miserable ends.
I wonder, does Musharraf - our not so overly intelligent Fateh-Kargill - really think he can beat these historical odds?