A cruel joke

JUST when one thought one had seen all manner of political absurdities in Pakistan, General Musharraf surprises us with another one: an ex-military dictator seeking to make a political comeback through the democratic process! And, again, the worn-out but still popular refrain in the West of the dangers of “Islamic extremism”, is being used as a means of justification for this comeback! This has to be yet another cruel joke on the people of Pakistan and their sacrifices in order to build and sustain a democratic political edifice for their state. It is not simply the fact of the dictatorship that is at issue here. It is the devastating legacy of his rule that makes his announcement of a political comeback so galling.

After all, it was Musharraf who first created a judicial crisis simply in order to flout the law and constitution; it was him who inflicted the NRO on us and the resurgence of the culture of political corruption; but, perhaps the most devastating for Pakistan was his total kowtowing before the US post-9/11 to an extent that even surprised the Bush Administration. From that day one till the present, the state has used Musharraf’s “deals” with the US in the so-called ‘war on terror’ to continue to oblige the US and gradually destroy not just the social fabric of the country but also its very security. Of course, the present rulers are using this as a mere pretext because they know that secret deals have no legality in international law and therefore if they want they can disown the secret commitments Musharraf made with the US.