Hamid Mir From Pakistan
Pervez Musharraf is still living in fool’s paradise. He resigned from the office of the President not for any guilt but he resigned under political pressure. Just few minutes before his speech he had told one of his close friends that coalition partners will start fighting with each other very soon, there will be more political instability in his absence, people will come out on the roads in next six months and they will demand that “come back Musharraf”.
That is the reason Musharraf is not going outside Pakistan. He will stay in Pakistan under heavy security and he will wait for the people to call him back.
He is badly mistaken. People of Pakistan have already rejected him and his policies on February 18th. They were sick of him and that was why even George W Bush abandoned him in his last days but Musharraf still think that Pakistan cannot survive without him. He claimed in his Monday’s speech that Pakistan was about to be declared a terrorist state in 1999 but he rescued Pakistan and gave a new recognition to Pakistan.
He never mentioned Kargil, which gave a bad name to Pakistan, he never mentioned anything about the judicial crisis he created in 2007 and he never mentioned anything about the assassination of PPP leader Benazir Bhutto. Death of Benazir started the downfall of Musharraf. His government lost its writ for at least one week after the assassination of Benazir. There was violence everywhere and government was evaporated. That was the time when Army decided to stay away from Musharraf just to save its credibility and that was how Musharraf lost his power. Assassination of Benazir Bhutto was also a big blow to the peace process in South Asia.
President Musharraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed on an “out of the box” solution of Kashmir dispute after many rounds of direct and indirect talks. They decided in 2006 to resolve Kashmir dispute maximum by the end of 2007. US President Bush was also on board with them.
Both the leaders were hoping for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 but now they have missed the chance. Musharraf is no more in a position to sell “out of the box” solution of Kashmir dispute. Manmohan Singh will also face difficulties for the approval of an “out of the box” solution on Kashmir from the Indian parliament after the recent Hindu-Muslim violence in Jammu and Kashmir.
Musharraf and Manmohan first met during the UN Summit in New York when the Indian Prime Minister called on Pakistani President at his hotel in New York on September 24,2004. It was an extremely pleasant encounter. Musharraf met Manmohan Singh again on April 18, 2005 during a one-day cricket match between India and Pakistan in Delhi. India lost this match to Pakistan but Musharraf and Manmohan decided that they will find out a Kashmir solution in which no side will be a loser but all the sides will be winners.
After few months they had another dinner on September 14, 2005 in New York, during UN General Assembly. Musharraf proposed demilitarization of Jammu and Kashmir, self-governance and joint management mechanism of the troubled valley. Initially Manmohan Singh raised many objections but later on both of them decided to continue their efforts for reaching on an “out of the box” solution without compromising the stated positions of their governments.
Indian National Security Adviser MK Naraynan and Pakistani National Security adviser Tariq Aziz continued their quite diplomacy in Dubai to discuss some more details. Indian side convinced PDP’s pro Delhi Kashmiri leader Mehbooba Mufti and Pakistani side took into confidence separatist Kashmiri leaders Mi Waiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik for resolving the Kashmir dispute in the year 2007. The details of the great Kashmir solution were finalized in June 2006. Musharraf wanted Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan in July 2006 but the Indian Prime Minister was looking for a politically suitable opportunity to break the ice. Musharraf sent a message to Benazir that Kashmir problem will be resolved soon and she have to support an “out of the box”solution. Unfortunately 2006 was wasted and 2007 started. That was the year when Musharraf started committing suicidal blunders. He sacked and arrested a sitting Chief Justice of Pakistan.
Lawyers and civil society came out on the roads against Musharraf. He lost a legal battle in Supreme Court of Pakistan on July 20, 2007 and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was restored.
Musharraf never digested this legal defeat. He struck a deal with exiled opposition leader Benazir Bhutto with the help of USA and UK. Musharraf agreed to take off his Army uniform and hold new elections. Benazir Bhutto agreed to support war against terrorism in return for free and fair elections. Benazir returned back to Pakistan in October but there was a lot of trust deficit between her and Musharraf.
She was not ready to take a clear position against Chief Justice. An agitated Musharraf imposed emergency in Pakistan on November 3, 2007 mainly against Suprem Court and “rebel media”. Benazir Bhutto declared this emergency as martial law and announced to stop her dialogue with Musharraf. Election was announced on January 8, 2008 but Benazir Bhutto was smelling lot of rigging. She started making noise against the rigging. She had a long meeting with DG ISI Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj on the night of December 26, 2008. Taj warned her about some security threats and suggested to abandon her election campaign. Benazir Bhutto refused to take his dictation. Next day she was assassinated in Rawalpindi.
This assassination was an actual political death of Musharraf. He lost his popularity in Pakistan completely. He delayed elections for one month but his rigging plans were failed because Army decided to stay away from politics. Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kyani even ordered ISI not to support any political party in the election. The neutral role of Army was a big blow to Musharraf. His supporters lost with big margins. Febraury 18th election were a clear no-confidence of Pakistani voters against Musharraf but he never accepted his defeat. He was not happy with army chief. He was in a position to sack army Chief as the supreme commander of armed forces but he was aware that army could defy his orders like he defied the orders of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999 as army chief. He decided to wait for an appropriate time to hit both army chief and the new coalition government.
Musharraf was sure that only he could resolve the Kashmir dispute, he was sure that only he has the guts to pave the way for the recognition of Israel by Pakistan. He was also sure that Pakistan Army needs him despite the fact that he was no more in uniform. He thought that only he could negotiate for more and more military aid from USA for armed forces of Pakistan.
He was sure that he will catch Osama bin Laden soon and West will force the new coalition government to accept him as the President for next five years. Musharraf delayed the government making process in Pakistan for more than one month. He tried to make deals with PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif through top US diplomats but he was failed. Musharraf is still popular in Western capitals but he is the most unpopular human being in Pakistan.
New coalition sent him messages to resign but Musharraf threatened to use his constitutional powers. His rough attitude created problems and finally the coalition leaders decided to impeach him. All his old buddies have ditched him. USA and UK were not in a position to help him. They requested new coalition to provide safe passage to Musharraf instead of impeaching him. He has lost everything. All his friends want him to say goodbye.
Musharraf ruled Pakistan for more then 8 years but he never ruled the hearts and minds of his people like a true leader because he never came into power through ballot but through bullet.
He was definitely in a position to become a real peacemaker with the help of Manmohan Singh and Benazir Bhutto in 2007 but he missed this golden chance. He missed 2007 because he created a political turmoil in Pakistan by attacking judiciary.
He also missed the chances of getting Nobel Peace Prize along with Manmohan Singh due to his self righteousness. He has missed everything now. He will soon realize that there is no use of staying in Pakistan and ultimately he will leave this country because it’s difficult for him to face common people.
He will also miss Pakistan very soon but the people of Pakistan will not miss him. Musharraf was definitely the last military dictator of Pakistan; many people will remember him not only as a dictator but also as a traitor who broke the constitution of Pakistan not once but twice.