Sometime ago in the capital city, I called at someone’s place. A small group of visitors had already gathered there and they were all busy discussing – what else? – the CJ crisis.
And then who should drop in for a visit?
The grandfather of jihadism himself, General Hamid Gul.
Needless to add, social decorum was properly maintained and the retired general was accorded the requisite degree of respect for his “age and stage” in life - that is no discourteous comments were made nor were any blunt queries directed at him.
Nevertheless taking advantage of the presence of a once extremely powerful (and still influential) Khaki, he was asked some pertinent questions by those present.
Here are some of his replies:
Musharraf, as one of his juniors in command, proved to be ‘a good subordinate but was of decidedly average intelligence.’
The present lot of his handpicked generals are much junior to Musharraf in rank, tenure and experience. They were probably brigadiers, or even junior, at the time he took over as chief of army staff with the rank of full general. More importantly, ‘Musharraf does not take the trouble to sound out any of them on important policy matters.’
‘Neither does Musharraf bother to consult his own group of handpicked politicians.’
So who does the Commando General consult when making important ‘decisions of state’ – like fixing a ‘pesky’ Chief Justice?
Well, according to the ex-ISI chief, regime policies are discussed and decided at Musharraf’s late evening sessions with - what Hamid Gul refers to in English as - his ‘bottle friends’ (hum payalas in local idiom).
Now I was not overly surprised by Hamid Gul’s revelation; I had been hearing the same thing from various sources for a lengthy period of time.
To me the actual confirmation came when Musharraf was interviewed by the Washington Post in September 2005.
When questioned by US journalists about the rape victim Mukhtaran Mai he gave what he thought was a well considered reply:
"A lot of people say that if you want to go abroad and get a visa from Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped"
I t was obvious who these “a lot of people” were.
I could easily imagine a bunch of inebriated pals – endowed with an uncommon dose of ‘macho’ irrationality - giving that kind of message to their leader in the early hours of the morning. And given the type of man Musharraf is, he took it as a given reality.
When his blundering remark drew outrage around the world, he denied ever making it. However the Washington Post then posted an audio of the interview on the internet establishing the general, not only as a macho dipstick, but a fibber as well. .
It is therefore quite feasible that at one these sessions not so long ago, some members of this select company may have suggested that getting rid of a troublesome chief justice would be a piece of cake – just put on the uniform, glower at him and the guy would automatically crumble to pieces.
Well it did not quite happen as planned, but I would dearly love to know more about these ‘bottle friends’.
Does any one know who they are?