Fiction or fact, General Pervez Musharraf's memoir is climbing rapidly up the charts. It was number seven on amazon.com’s bestseller list on Tuesday.
No doubt, the “outrageous” things the Pakistan president has said — including the US threat to bomb his country back to the Stone Age if it did not join the war on terror — has helped the book greatly. A reviewer suggested as much on the Amazon site: “Buy the book if you are interested in fiction. The Pakistani general uses his fertile imagination to give us fictitious explanations on pre and post-9/11 happenings in Pakistan and on the Kargil conflict. The Pakistan Army's support for and use of extremist and militant organisations to fuel jihads in Afghanistan and Kashmir is well-documented.”
Another reviewer headlined his comment: “Recasting history with a bunch of lies.” He wrote that Musharraf’s “claims that the war plans were provoked by Indian offensive was not supported by international historical record. Scholarly accounts do not support his claims that the Pakistan Army was winning at the time it was ordered to withdraw from Kargil”.
But there were others, apparently Pakistani Americans, who hailed the book as “marvellous”, “courageous” and “pragmatic”. Exulted one: “This is a very bold effort by a true South Asian leader or should I say a world leader of modern times.”
Musharraf is revelling in the attention. After the launch, he said he went against the advice of his aides to go ahead with an “overly candid” book. “Most people were against my writing this book at this moment, but like a good military leader, I took the decision against the major part of their advice,” he remarked.