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One that flew over the coup?s nest

Rumours that a coup was in progress in Pakistan came just a day before the launch of Musharraf?s autobiography.

india Updated: Sep 26, 2006 03:33 IST

As far as sales pitches go, Sunday’s rumours that a coup was in progress in Pakistan came at a perfect time — a day before the launch of Pervez Musharraf’s autobiography, In The Line of Fire. A power failure, of the electrical kind, throughout the country, along with the news that the President was undergoing an unscheduled medical check-up in Texas, had the grapevine buzzing.

But as the Punjabi wag currently visiting the US stated, the reports of a coup have been greatly exaggerated. The funnier line from Mr Musharraf was, however, that “these reports are absolute nonsense and thank God we are not a banana republic... we are a normal, stable country”. But surely, the General can forgive us, as well as his own countrymen, for thinking that the mice may well have been at play while the cat was away considering in October 1999, General Musharraf had to dash back from outside the country (Sri Lanka) to conduct his own coup. Then, as on Sunday, the first public sign of a coup was TV stations going off air. A power failure can be a surer sign that a transfer of power, of the political kind, is taking place.

Black-outs, of course, mean different things in different places. In Delhi, they normally mean business as usual. In New York, they could trigger red alerts before something apocalyptic. In certain parts of Pakistan, like in Quetta where crowds cheered on the streets, it can mean the removal of a government. But perish that thought. Pervez Musharraf, unlike Thaksin Shinawatra, has a book to sell. A putsch at this time just won’t do.

First Published: Sep 26, 2006 03:33 IST