Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Musharraf may not return to Pakistan so soon

Dallas: October 2, 2010
Musharraf may not return to Pakistan so soon
By Saeed Qureshi
I do not think that Pervez Musharraf will visit Pakistan so soon to pursue his political ambitions. Nor would I recommend that he should step on the soil of Pakistan as a reincarnated Messiah for the hapless people that he ruled for pretty nine years. Power is a farce and an enticing charm that never goes away once one is addicted to it or atleast enjoyed it with absolute abandon.
If former president wants to rectify what he has done to that perennially betrayed nation for almost a decade then he should better stifle his ambition because there is a widespread negativity about his staging a return as a political candidate. He has been almost an unrivaled sovereign of the state of Pakistan with an upward popularity graph for pretty good time.
He has to his credit many accomplishments and yet many failures. Somehow, his image among a section of Pakistanis is that of head of state who is still cherished. Notwithstanding his half of a million Facebook subscribers, his real test of popularity or otherwise will come when he is actually wrestling with the political contenders in Pakistan.
In the United States, I have come across some very dedicated and enthusiastic supporters of Musharraf who do not entertain a logical dialogue or are prepared to listen to the drawbacks and deficiencies that he displayed during his prime time in Pakistan. These sentimental yet less discreet people are inadvertently trying to push him into an inferno that would be no less than a hell-fire. The underlying motive of his zealous supporters and fanatic fans is based on the assumption that presently, he is the only one among the whole lot, who can rescue Pakistan mired into unremitting turmoil and myriad crises.
In their opinion, it was only Pervez Musharraf who could perform this historic and crucial role of saving and salvaging Pakistan, as all other leaders were corrupt and inefficient. I must applaud the flight of their fanciful hopes and aspirations that they tend to overlook the bleaker side of Musharraf having many foes who are ready to pounce upon him, as soon he would land in Pakistan. As to how he would sail out of a sea of heavy odds and obdurate obstacles is too frightening a reflection to be entertained by tender minds.
Nawaz Sharif’s case is different because despite his failings, he was the head of a well-established poltical party. Same criterion applies to the stalwarts of the PPP and MQM because these are essentially political outfits with grassroots support: meager or abundant. But for a new political party to be lorded over by a person , howsoever, intelligent and efficient yet with an overwhelming ill will, both in both the political circles and the masses, to excel and to capture power seems excessively hypothetical and far-fetched and perhaps wishful musings.
Musharraf’s inaugural speech in London was run of the mill statement and was drab, insipid, and rather meaningless. He visibly lacked the passion and exuberance or intellect that a politician of even lower ranks possesses in abundance. He appeared to be reading his statement as if issuing a military order with constipated hiccups. He was not articulate, not rhetoric. His expression was shorn of pomposity and oration, that are imperative for a politician especially the budding one to demonstrate vitality and vigor with a view to swaying the public opinion in his favor or at least influencing the listeners in regards to his mission and intent.
Is he under the delusion that he is so popular that the road to recapturing power was merely a trifle? Is he really convinced that the moment he enters Pakistan or announces the formation of a political party, the people would rally around in countless droves? Does he believe that he a revolutionary who can in a second bid, change the destiny of Pakistani nation? Well, he had plenty of time to prove his leadership qualities and he prevaricated.
To beseech forgiveness of the people of Pakistan for his myriad follies would not endear him to the extent that his way is paved for winning elections and capturing the power citadel once again. The goals that he espoused to achieve are already there in the manifestoes of all the political parties and do not carry any novel attraction for the people who has seen him at helm for pretty nine years. What makes him different this time except that the trappings of power have nostalgic germs and keep one bugging for the rest of his life?
Former president may be an entirely atoned person. However, the fact cannot be obviated that he has become highly controversial. It is also a glaring fact that he does not enjoy a truly political background and that he has already been tried. In the backdrop of these shortcomings, the people predictably may not swing on to his side as to enable him to defeat other political parties and perch him on power throne. The ordeals in his path are formidable and rather insurmountable. As long, he commands his new party by staying overseas; he is safe both physically and legally.
However, as soon as he goes back to Pakistan, he would find himself like a bird in a cage. He will not be able to address the rallies, hold public meetings, lead processions, inspire, and mobilize the masses. All this inputs are sin quo none for changing the status quo. His confinement to four walls, his inability to move around, and the lurking fear of being ambushed are the monumental challenges that he should be aware of. I cannot draw any other conclusion except to maintain that he is not going to Pakistan so soon. Yet his right to play politics as a citizen of Pakistan is incontrovertible and must be acknowledged.
(The writer is a Dallas-based freelance journalist and a former diplomat writing mostly on International Affairs with specific focus on Pakistan and the United States)
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