Defending Pakistan’s Musharraf
By Parvez Amin
I understand Musharraf’s critics. I feel the pain that many Pakistanis feel when they talk about where President Musharraf went wrong. But I ask you to step back and see if the events can be put into a fairer perspective.
Let me try to see if I can persuade this group to apply reason to discovering the root causes for the events regularly mentioned and the many more overlooked but were equally traumatic.
I think that the following basis is sensible:
1. There is no doubt that the ultimate responsibility for the conditions in Pakistan rests on President Musharraf, who is the captain of the team, so to speak, that leads Pakistan. If some of his players play badly and cause the team to lose, would you assign the entire responsibility to the captain?
2. Pakistan has never seen worst governance than under the plundering Bhuttos and the looting Sharifs. Can you remember the sense of deliverance and jubilation that prevailed for many years under the Musharraf regime? How, when and why did this change into ‘hatred’ for Musharraf? Let me take that one at a time.
3.It is true that Musharraf set in motion many initiatives that saved Pakistan from failing. The list of these initiatives is long, but that is not the point. The point is that a great deal of order, sense and stability was introduced and, as a result, Pakistan started to surge ahead.
- All this did not happen without opposition by many with different agendas:
Those who tried and continue converting Pakistan into a theocratic state ruled by mullahs and qazis. Would you like to be counted among them? If not, and other than the Pakistan Army, which different force in the country could face the militant and fanatic attempts to bludgeon Pakistan back into the dark ages? Does this make you reconsider? Are we doomed if you side with those who insist on suicide bombing without a demand and in such a random and non-negotiable way? Will you reconsider and change your position?
Are there not those among us who loot the country in their own criminal ways? Among many varieties, I particularly refer to the:
i. Land grabbers
ii. The international wheat and fuel smugglers
iii. The over-invoicers
iv. The traffickers in camel boys and young girls
v. The corrupt bureaucrats, police and judges and politicians
vi. The foreign funded administrations of maddresahs producing suicide bombers for destabilizing the country.
This brings us to the point where we must answer the question: Who is interested in destabilizing Pakistan? I think a short answer is: The Energy Robber states, USA and UK among others. Why Pakistan? Because it is the energy corridor from the Central Asian republics to the Arabian Sea and has substantial reserves of its own.
When did hatred for Musharraf enter the stage? It entered the stage in the Western media but not in reality on the streets of Pakistan when Musharraf insisted on going his own way for Pakistan and refused to obey Washington and London. That is when the Western media went on an anti Musharraf blitzkrieg that continues till today.
And no, things are not as simple as this. Many of the things that Musharraf critics say are and might be true, but I argue that the conclusions drawn need modification so that they support whatever is best for Pakistan. You must do what is best for Pakistan and not cause further disarray by supporting the views of our enemies.
At this point in time, what is best for Pakistan? Musharraf’s leadership – we have no other leader of better ability and stature. When the Energy Robbers have been contained, there will be time to reorganize and develop a democracy fashioned to meet our substantially different needs. (I happen to be working on a proposal for such a system. In this system citizens vote directly and do not need political representatives – only executive heads to carry out the policies voters endorsed.)
Mr. Parvez Amin is a Pakistani businessman based in Lahore. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org