Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is a man of eclectic tastes. According to the directors of a new documentary on Benazir Bhutto, the gen-eral demanded bottles of Chivas Regal and Cuban cigars when they approached him for an interview. The gifts were duly sent to his camp room in Philadelphia in the US, during an 'image-rebuilding' tour to the country. However, what did the trick was neither the bottle nor the smoke but a fair amount flattery. That, we gather from the directors, helped the man make up his mind on the cameo appearance.
Mr Musharraf's demands are surprising. In this day and age, when a couple of millions, foreign jaunts and villas
in exotic locales figure prominently on rate cards of any self-respecting politician or bureaucrat or, we have heard some people say, journalists, a couple of bottles of whisky and cigars are hardly worth mentioning. Maybe Mr Musharraf has been out of power too long to learn from the A Rajas of the world
or the original 'Mr 10 per cent', his successor in Islamabad Asif Ali Zardari, the new tricks of the old trade.
Recently, New Delhi refused him a visa to enter India because it apparently did not want to upset the present rulers of Pakistan. This is bit strange. After all there's no love lost between New Delhi and Islamabad. So why on earth did New Delhi let go of a golden opportunity to rub it in? A little birdie told us that the high and mighty of the Indian capital have apparently disowned Mr Musharraf because while here across the Indus, the figures exchanging hands (under the table, of course) are in crores, here's a man who is happy with a few bottles, smokes and flattery. 'What kind of a loser is trying to bring the market price down?' they ask with genuine concern.