Thursday, April 26, 2007

Gen. Hamid Gul on ‘Bottle Friends’

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?


Anonymous said...

These glass fellows and class fellows - tariq aziz was in his clas at FC College, several Karachi businessman and bankers are close to Mush only because of the Black Label and the abundance of excited woman they can arrange. Also, the head of IB and the former Corps Commander of Lahore Zarar Azim (nicknamed Zarar Zamin for his crooked and greedy land deals) are also big mujra organizers for the uniformed one.

Anonymous said...

My dad always says that no matter how rich and powerful you get in this country, you'll always be a second citizen. Only the armed forces people are the first citizens.

libertarian said...

onlooker: even keeping in mind that Hamid Gul is quite a nut-job this is very interesting. Your rough endorsement adds credibility. It neatly explains his disastrous bloopers. Must be depressing to be at the mercy of a testosterone-driven tippler.

d0ct0r said...

The other day, some of the top army generals finished a hard day's work at a conference in Islamabad and decided they'd earned a bit of entertainment.

Buoyed by their own spontaneity, they had that evening's sold-out performance of the musical Bombay Dreams cancelled for ticket-paying patrons, and enjoyed an exclusive viewing of Pakistani girls dancing to Indian music director AR Rehman's tunes.

Anonymous said...

Why does Musharraf consider himself and his handful of drinking buddies to be the best possible rulers, whose rule deserves to be perpetuated for the next many years by bypassing parliament, undermining the top judiciary and sabotaging all regular political parties which can challenge it?

Have the Americans' (and Indians', sorry to say) buttering him up given him such a sense of infallibility that he thinks his drinking buddies are better advisers for the nation than a regular national cabinet?

-puzzled outside observer

Anonymous said...

So we are back to Yahya Khan's era. When will the new general Rani surface, I wonder.

Anonymous said...

PS: It could be that Bin Laden is in Pak Army custody so Musharraf thinks of himself as sole savior of Pakistan and the West both, and hence his every action and decision is infallible and every dissenter of his indispensible self is a grave threat to the world at large.

-puzzled anonymous

Anonymous said...

Only the armed forces people are the first citizens.

That sounds like a line from the Hollywood movie Starship Troopers.

Anonymous said...

These bottlers are lt generals and corps commanders. like mangla and gujranwala and lahore. it is amazing all these generals are clean shaved with reddish brown hair combed like they had a wig on their head.

Really pathetic looking seem to think they are young but unfortunately they are repulsive.for example the current corps commander of lahore. yikkes he is gruesome

Anonymous said...

Well... To learn more about pupit regims read .....

The confessions of an Economic Hit man

you'll get to know a lot on how generals are made into politicians :)

and giving out quick promotions from lower ranks to generals is a military blunder that can cost the country in lives, land and honor

as for Gen Hamid Gul i have found him to be a strict Islamist but not in the Mullaistick sense but in a Proper and Pragmatic sense and an Islamic egalitarian with an Islamic World view of United Muslim Ummah under one banner