Waltzing with Death: The Brilliance of Pervez
Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount- Winston Churchill
History is replete with examples of ordinary men heroically leading their people in extraordinary times. And extraordinary men falling prey to their vanity when their country needed them the most. It’s too early to say to which group General Pervez Musharaff will be consigned to in the pages of history. But the man has definitely been the pivot around which the events of the twenty-first century have unfolded. This article will make an attempt to review the actions and motives of this enigma who has continued to astound the world not just by staying alive but maintaining a vice like grip on one of the most turbulent nations in modern times.
When Musharaff took over power in 99, not many were surprised. Military coups are but a periodic phenomenon in
Musharaff signed his death warrant that day itself when he agreed to play host to the
Americans, true to their nature always ensure that their investments show a high degree of return. They coerced the general into making peace with
The inception of the peace process with
The virtual granting of independence to
2007 saw a major turn in his fortunes. And it came from the most unexpected of quarters. The judiciary had always played second fiddle to the leadership. Chief justice Iftikar Chowdhury who before 2007 had a very unremarkable career suddenly showed traits of judicial activism. Most of them were directed against Musharaff’s policies. Anticipating complications during his re-election bid he asked the chief justice to fall in line or to step down. The chief justice declined to do either. This standing up to the president enthused the anti-Musharaff groups like never before. Justice Chowdhury became the rallying point for all the anti-government protestors. Yet again the junta showed poor judgement. They tried to divert the nation’s attention and suppress the growing popularity of he protests by creating the Lal Masjid crises. Creating wouldn’t be a fair thing to say actually. Discontent had been simmering in
But this just worsened matters. The fundamentalists reaffirmed their faith in destroying the general. Another attempt on his life followed. The battle on the chief justice front too failed. Musharaff was forced to reinstate him hence by showing how much his power had declined. Like vultures over a caracass, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif declared their intent of returning to their home country. The stage was set for the final overthrow.
Musharaff, a commando by training, has stunned the world by his ability to come out of intractable situations. The world waits with bated breath to see whether he has saved his best for the last. The Americans have finally had enough of him. They desperately want a seamless transfer of power to a democratic government. The usual suspects in a general election have started gathering forces. The fundamentalists are still planning their assassination attempts. Musharaff always has the honourable exit option.
A man who has been guided by his huge ego and strong survival instincts finally seems to have reached the end of the road. Very few will disagree that he was the best possible leader