Musharraf, the clock is ticking
Pervez Musharraf, currently military ruler of Pakistan was
brought into power in October 1999 by an “in-abstentia” military
coup by the Pakistan Army. This is the first point that needs
to be established, analytically, namely that General Musharraf was
brought into power by an “Islamic Fundamentalist” coterie of
Pakistani Generals with Islamic Jehadi mindsets. General
Musharraf did not become the military ruler of Pakistan on the
strength of his personal charisma or standing with the rank and file
of the Pakistani Army.
second point that needs to be established, analytically, is General
Musharraf's character. The most fundamental flaw noticeable in the
General’s character is his lack of loyalty and opportunistic
approach to all things-political, military or diplomatic.
General Musharraf in a blatant display of disloyalty, jettisoned his
close confidantes i.e. the “Islamic Fundamentalist” Generals who
brought him into power “in abstentia”. This General Musharraf
did to ingratiate himself personally, with the United States.
9/11, General Musharraf reinforced his disloyal and opportunistic
streaks in the split-second jettisoning of the Taliban in
Afghanistan, a protégé of the Pakistani Army, whose Chief of Army
Staff he was. And in the next second, on his personal
willingness and predilection, he acquiesced to the provision of
bases and positioning of thousands of American troops on
Pakistani soil. This was something that none of the earlier
Pakistani military rulers had done. Of course, General
Musharraf glorified his abject surrender in the name of Koranic
tenets and involving the Holy Prophet .
He also glorified the surrender of Pakistan’s sovereignty
as one of strategic necessity and in Pakistan’s national
General Musharraf Indispensable for Pakistan?: General Musharraf
cannot be said to be indispensable for Pakistan. Pakistan has
survived its “failed state” status not because of General
Musharraf’s policies and initiatives but because of American
largesse prompted by United States strategic necessities whose
longevity will not last beyond current American involvement in
Afghanistan and Iraq. Afghanistan already stands devalued in
United States current strategic priorities.
Musharraf has sought to devalue, disintegrate and ridicule
Pakistan’s existing polity, which despite its shortcomings,
provided some semblance of democracy, in the interregnums between
longish spells of military rule. With such credentials,
General Musharraf hardly qualifies to be termed as a visionary
builder of a stable Pakistan for the future. Pakistan today, after
nearly four years of military rule by General Musharraf stands
deeply divided as a nation. The
political parties are softly sharpening their knives for the day
United States strategic denouement emerges more sharply. In
the Pakistan Army, “the Islamic Fundamentalists” (whose main
inspiring force was General Musharraf) cannot be said to have faded
away by General Musharraf’s “de-Islamisation” steps taken at
United States insistence. On the contrary, the Pakistan
Army’s middle-level and rank and file have become more strongly
Musharraf in the last four years has not cared to build-up any
support lobby in Pakistan. His only support lobby exists in
Washington. The Pakistan Army will tolerate General Musharraf
in power only if he does not barter away or compromise Pak Army’s
core interests. General Musharraf already has done this
Pakistan, by any objective analysis, General Musharraf is
dispensable. It is only a matter of time, before another Pakistan
General displaces Musharraf, reminiscent of General Yahya Khan’s
displacement of Field Marshal Ayub Khan.
General Musharraf Indispensable for the United States? : Post
9/11, high dignitaries of the Bush Administration and President
Bush, with all their eloquent testimonials for General Musharraf,
would like the Pakistanis, the South Asians and the world at large
to believe that General Musharraf
is indispensable for Pakistan’s stability. Nothing
could be farther from the truth as the ground realities in Pakistan
suggest otherwise. The only truth in terms of indispensabilty
of General Musharraf lies in his utility to serve United States
strategic interests in the region, which notably are:
Provide Pakistani bases for US military operations in Afghanistan.
Assist CIA and FBI teams in Pakistan to apprehend Al Qaeda and
Taliban hierarchy residing in Pakistan.
At some future date provide Pakistani military bases as a
springboard for US military operations against Iran.
Control Pakistani nuclear assets.
in Afghans are already petering out basically due to US focus on
Iraq. This is facilitating revival of Taliban, albeit with Pak
of Al Qaeda and Taliban hierarchy could have been done in one sweep
as it is the ISI (Pakistan’s state within a state) which is
facilitating their refuge. General Musharraf for continued United
States support for his personal survival, has chosen to assist
apprehensions of those Islamic Jehadis at infrequent intervals
co-incident with build-up of United States pressures on him on other
under any political dispensation is unlikely to become a springboard
for US military operations against Iran and to that extent General
Musharraf is not in a position to further US strategic interests.
all counts, it can be said that the United States took control of
Pakistan’s nuclear assets in October 2000 when the United States
military build-up in Pakistan for Afghanistan operations commenced.
Musharraf’s strategic indispensability for US military designs in
the region has become limited and likely to deteriorate more as
political restlessness grows in Pakistan. The United States cannot
endlessly stand between democracy and the Pakistani masses yearning
for it. USA will have to yield in favour of civilian
rule or a less politically rigid Pakistani Army General.
Pakistan Army itself may call upon themselves to displace General
Musharraf who is perceived in Pakistan, growingly, as a United
Musharraf is Dispensable in Indian Perceptions: It is surprising
that many leading Indian analysts have toed the United States line
that General Musharraf is indispensable for India also as the
alternative would be a rabid Islamic Jehadi regime in Pakistan, much
to India’s disadvantage. What is projected is a lurid
catastrophe for India if that happens.
a line of thinking has its roots elsewhere. India has lived with an
Islamic Jehadi military ruler like General Musharraf and it can
certainly manage even a more rabid civilian Islamic Jehadi regime in
Pakistan. They conveniently forget in their speed to support
the American viewpoint that India-Pakistan relations have sunk to
their lowest level ever in the four years of General Musharraf’s
rule and so also the intensity of Pakistan’s proxy war against
Indian perceptions, therefore, General Musharraf is dispensable and
perhaps the temperatures in South Asia could become lower with his
easing out from the Pakistan helm.
Pakistan’s General Musharraf has neither stabilized Pakistan’s
domestic scene nor contributed to a more stable South Asia. He
runs Pakistan like running a Pakistan Army Corps demanding implicit
obedience. Forgetting Kargil, he continues to have an
obsessive mindset that Pakistan can now strategically dominate South
Asia equipped with nuclear assets and unquestioned strategic
permissiveness of the United States and China.
General Musharraf as Pakistan’s military ruler may have delivered
on United States current strategic requirements, he cannot be said
to have contributed to United States long term strategic interests
in the region. Also what he delivered strategically was not
willingly done but under duress i.e. intense United States
pressures. His character traits of lack of loyalty and opportunism
are already under display in what can best be described as
‘driblet contribution’ to United States counter-terrorism
challenge before the United States is to create a stable Pakistan
and not a stable Pakistan Army General at odds domestically and
one could also advise General Musharraf, that historically, the
United States has dispensed with dictators allied to it, once used
---there is a long line starting from President Diem of Vietnam and
so on. General Musharraf too would not take long to become
dispensable for the United States.