By Ali Zaidi
Los Angeles, CA
few years ago, US Senator Barak Obama in a campaign
speech in Chicago said that if Musharraf was to
ever lose power, the United States should look at
the option of hitting Pakistan’s nuclear facilities.
I promptly wrote a strong protest letter to the
Senator and asked him to immediately take his words
back as he could not talk about attacking a sovereign
country. All this happened after we had gone out
of our way to support the US war on terror!
My letter to the now Senator Obama was published
in a couple of newspapers although I never received
a reply from him or his office. The inference is
obvious: The United States is still the greatest
country of the world. Here you have freedom of speech
or whatever is left of it. It is still a place where,
if you are willing to work, you will not sleep hungry.
It is a still a place where, if need be, a poor
peasant can go to the courts and get justice against
a powerful tyrant. It is still the land of opportunity.
It is still the land of freedom. It is a land of
live and let live. And yes, it is a land of tolerance.
If 9/11 had happened anywhere else, say India, the
Indian Muslims would have had no place to hide.
Remember Gujrat (India) a few years ago where thousand
were slaughtered in cold blood? In the US, we can
still go to the mosque without the slightest threat
of being shot by a religious extremist of a different
In my letter to the Senator I had stated that it
was the failure of our foreign policy which had
necessitated a statement like that to be made. Our
foreign policy is revolving around a military dictator
instead of promoting the image of Pakistan as a
country. Now Musharraf has proved me and everyone
else right by publishing his memoir.
I asked for Mr. Cowasjee’s comments on this
book. The well-known columnist asked me to read
his article in Dawn. I read the article and although
it does start by saying that Musharaf should not
have written this book, I felt that he was a little
soft on the General. I wrote to him, “Honestly
Sir, with due respect to you and your writing skills,
you could have written it much stronger...This dictator
has embarrassed us overseas Pakistanis to the point
where even our ‘gora’ friends are calling
him Bush's stooge ... and you know that George W
is not very popular these days here”. His
reply was, “Embarrassed? Why? Are you a bunch
of shrinking violets?”
I am writing this article to convey my feelings
to him. This article should also serve to explain
why we have been embarrassed by the General.
We are embarrassed because this man has openly written
that we were told by the US that we would be bombed
to stone-age if we did not help them ... Is this
called negotiation or is this to be described as
a threat? I think anyone would have done what he
did, but, please, we could have done it with a little
Embarrassed because this man was here on an official
trip with an entourage of about 70 people, including
ministers, spending Pakistani tax payers money.
The General spent more time in promoting his book
than doing official business.
Embarrassed because this man has the audacity to
stand in the White House and say that he is "honor
bound" to the publisher and can't talk about
his book prompting President Bush to say, "What
he means is buy the book." What about being
"honor bound" to the 150 million people
he so rules with an iron hand because he has the
backing of the White House.
Let me refresh the readers’ memory about the
promises he has made to the Pakistanis and broken
them without the slightest call of compunction:
His promise: I will clean up the political system
of Pakistan by fighting against the corrupt politicians.
His answer: Chaudry Shujat, Irfanullah Marwat, Faisal
Saleh Hayat, Rao Sikandar, Sher Niazi … This
list is too long and might not fit this column.
His promise: I will bring true democracy.
His answer: The LFO.
His promise: I will take off my uniform and be a
His Answer: You can see for yourself.
His promise: I will not victimize my political opponents.
His answer: Akbar Bugti is dead and he congratulated
the officers who killed him!
His promise: I will protect the constitution of
Pakistan and will not reveal state secrets (this
is all spelled out in the oath the President takes).
His answer: In the Line of Fire.
Embarrassed because 200,000 kids die every year
in Pakistan due to water contamination while we
are building a GHQ on a 2500-acre piece of land.
Just for your information the Pentagon, the GHQ
of the largest army of the world, covers 35 acres.
Embarrassed because even after we have bent backwards
helping the US in its “war on terror”,
our ministers are made to go through body searches
at the US airports. (At least someone is doing what
we should have done in the first place).
Embarrassed because the General has openly given
away our state secrets with respect to our nuclear
program - the only offensive defense we have. Whatever
appears in the newspapers is nothing compared to
what has been written by the sitting president of
Need I say more?