I used to make a living writing advertising copy once, but that doesn’t necessarily make a paid liar out of me. Time was when people in my profession were known by grand-sounding names like ‘Copy Chief’, and if you were really good at visualising you enjoyed the title of ‘Creative Director’.
Today, we have ‘Spin Doctors’.
Nothing that I ever wrote or attempted to visualise comes even close to the campaign that we have witnessed in the media, and in the public about President Musharraf’s “imminent departure”.
It has sent bells ringing, the stock market nose diving, to say nothing about talk show hosts disseminating every move the GHQ was making or not making. Never mind the energy shortage and the load shedding, these rumour mills are working overtime.
One minute there was a plane waiting to take him out of the country and the next “he was in the custody of the army”, that too coming from a former COAS. But he might be forgiven such inverted remarks given his dour demeanour.
To add to all this, what could have been a perfectly well-meaning phone call from President Bush to enquire about how his good friend and counterpart was bearing up under the pressure became one of those “hang in there brother, I am sending the Seventh Fleet”, or better still, “I am sending Air Force One”.
I don’t know what President Musharraf said during the call but judging from the fallout he probably said, “Do me a favour George, don’t call me, I’ll call you!”
Then there is the former Chief Justice’s speech in Peshawar. It will be known for many things but certainly not for its judicious choice of words.
Mr Sharif the elder, on the other hand is turning up the heat notch by notch. What he cannot understand is why his former best friend Asif Zardari keeps forgetting that he had once told him he wanted President Musharraf out of the way just as badly as he did. He might have but he didn’t tell him when.
Then there is this famous interview that Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan gave to James Traub of the New York Times magazine, which in all likelihood is not going to endear him to his party leader.
According to Traub, Barrister Ahsan is “almost recklessly blunt about his criticism of his Party leadership.” Some of the most damning comments quoted by Traub are about the corruption charges levelled against Asif Zardari and his late wife.
Swish uptown Manhattan apartments come rather pricey these days.
Barrister Ahsan however saves his most chilling indictment when he states: “that charges of corruption against both” and in Zardari’s case of “kidnapping ransom and murder were justified.” And this from a former defence council and a party stalwart?
So with Makhdoom Amin Fahim in the cold, Aitzaz Ahsan upping the ante and going on the warpath and the shadow of the former CJ looming large over the political horizon, are we beginning to see the first significant cracks appear in Zardari’s PPP-talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place?
Despite all these undercurrents and cross-currents swirling in the murky waters of Pakistani politics the rumour mills continue to grind on regarding the President finally throwing in the towel and going to live somewhere along the Bosphorus.
To be perfectly honest, I can’t fault him on his choice of a ‘second home’.
The problem is that those that want him out also want his blood.
Now that may be wishful thinking. Consider: This is an elected President we are talking about. He is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. He is also a former Chief of Army Staff.
Whether anyone likes to admit it or not, he is a decent and well-meaning son of the soil. No self-respecting army in the world is going to allow one of its own to be even touched by a motley group of half-baked politicians of questionable probity that Pakistan has had the misfortune of being infested with.
You want to prosecute him and persecute him? Well think about this, if you want to try him, you will be putting on trial the entire Pakistan Army. Make no mistake about it.
Mahmud Sipra is a best selling author and an independent columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Daily Times