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Is US unhappy with Pervez Musharraf?

His foreign masters have started seeing through his game of deceit and seem to be realising he has outlived his utility, writes Wajid Shamsul Hasan.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2006 20:26 IST

Pakistan's usurper leader General Pervez Musharraf, graded among the top in world's worst dictators list second year running is desperately waddling to keep himself afloat in a stormy sea of self-created problems.

Sadly enough for him, with a silver lining for the Pakistani nation, he is running out of the last straws. Even his well-tested weapon of deception is not getting him any relief. Not only that, even his foreign masters have started seeing through his game of deceit and deception and they are getting nearer to the conclusion that he has outlived his utility and that he has no more capacity to deliver.

When the most widely read US-based news magazine Parade that gets distributed with every newspaper in the US, ranked Musharraf as 17th in its list of the worst dictators at time when Washington professes to be steamrolling democracy in Middle East -- the message it carried was understandable. The powers that be in the United States -- though publicly not ready to let him know yet -- have started their search for the alternatives.

Not only this is the message in the Parade listing of the notorious dictators, other prestigious newspapers like Washington Post and London Economist too have chosen him to be a target of their scathing editorial attacks. Parade's listing is 'to remind people of those heads of states who terrorise and abuse the rights of their own people.' Last year, the magazine had ranked Musharraf as 7th in the world's 10 worst dictators list.

Explaining the change in rankings, the magazine said 'the General had slipped out of the top 10 not because his conduct had improved but because other dictators had got worst."

Global evaluators believe that a countdown for him has begun. He surely is hearing the sound of the death-knell. It is said that rebel Baloch rockets are after his hot air, militant assassins are hiding in the bushes to knock him out, too many fronts opened by him nationally to keep himself perpetually in power are threatening to become his Waterloos, his foreign masters too are getting annoyed with him by his game of running with their hare and hunting with their enemies.

More alarming is his domestic front. His fratricidal war on South Waziristan with 70,000 of Pakistani crack troops, is sinking him deeper into quagmire of failure. His invasion of Balochistan to establish the writ of the state and jackboot the legitimate aspirations of the people is taking him into another East Pakistan. His so-called retreat on Kalabagh Dam (KBD) has not douched the fire started by him in Sindh in particular and two other smaller provinces in general.

Damage has been done and no number of retreats can revive people's confidence in his chicaneries professions. His campaign against domestic terrorism is getting Americans enough eggs on their faces to keep them busy washing the dirt.

Besides that, Washington has for the first time, discussed with him issue of his military uniform. It has also been repeatedly telling him that it wants free and fair elections in 2007 with level playing field for all political parties and players. And this includes former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif. He has been conveyed unequivocally that anything like the farcical referendum and general elections of October 2002 would not be accepted as legitimate.

Any repetition shall deny him credibility and earn for him global condemnation. The recent discussion on the issue of his uniform was based on the reports of the growing alarming discontent among the senior officers who blame it all on US support to him.

Moreover, Pakistani intelligence reports that Benazir Bhutto is being seriously listened to by people and institutions that matter in Washington and London are giving him sleepless nights and have become the main cause of his major worry and utter desperation.

Most of Musharraf's Western supporters now see eye to eye with Bhutto on her proposition that: "The most effective way to undermine terrorism, in the view of the Pakistan People's Party, is to create stable, pluralistic structures through democratic reform. I believe that Pakistan is an example of a nation where the forces of tyranny and terrorism mingle to create an uncertain future."

In the background of these ominous developments for him General Musharraf's latest gimmickry, rushing to Interpol, with a request that so-called Red Warrants be issued against Bhutto -- is understandable. It is yet another desperate attack of the General on Awami revolutionary poet Habib Jalib's Eik Nahatee Larki (unarmed girl) who has remained the most serious political threat to the Pakistan's generals ever since her father's execution by General Zia-ul Haq in 1979. Like his macho uniformed processors General Musharraf's latest attempt to character-assassinate Pakistan's only leader of global stature is a manifestation of a sick mind that emanates from one who is anorchously incapacitated.

While his NAB officials tried their best they could not convince the Interpol establishment to issue Interpol Red Warrants against her or her husband Asif Zardari as desired by them. However, after great deal of wire pulling and pressure tactics, Interpol has issued international notices, at "Pakistan's specific request." Interpol spokeswoman Rachael Billington confirmed that "red notices" had been issued for Bhutto and her husband Zardari, but that it was up to member countries to decide what, if,
action to take.

The notice was not a mandatory order to the Interpol members for arrest and can be challenged. In the meanwhile Bhutto-Zardari lawyer Farooq Naek has challenged the Interpol notice. Conclusively, while the matter would stay put as "filed" in the foreign capitals, the scare from Jalib's Eik Nahatee Larki for the gun-wielding General is now more known to the world then ever before.

The author is a former Pakistani High Commissioner in London. The views expressed are his own and do not reflect those of HindustanTimes.com.

First Published: Jan 31, 2006 20:26 IST