It seems as if with the Christmas season in full swing, everyone is looking at the world with Santa Claus eyes. Things are not much different in Pakistan either apparently!
The state of emergency bought the government of Pakistan much needed time. While some may have foreseen that one day the President would magically disperse into thin air by the strong wave of anti-Musharraf rallies which started with the removal of Chief Justice of Pakistan in March, the Washington-backed officials in Islamabad were writing a different thawing agenda for the winters in Pakistan.
As December kicked in, the seemingly civilianised President is presenting a democratic picture to the world as he gave up his post of the Chief of Army staff.
Yet, the uniform and tear shedding ceremony does not seem to have changed much. The retired general continues as the president with the support of the armed forces, confident in their unfaltering dedication.
In addition, he continues to enjoy not only the blessings of the gurus in Washington, a subdued political opposition, a dispersed judiciary but also a very disciplined media.
With the big sack of these gifts on the back, it seems like the Santa has decided to shower the President long before Christmas time. So much so that even the music reviews / political writers have decided to join the bandwagon of ho-hoing the embattled President Musharraf of Pakistan.
Nadeem Farooq Paracha, a seasoned writer form Pakistan, mostly known for his in-depth features on music and Pakistani club scene (if there is such a thing) joins the new found support group for Musharraf.
In a feature published in Dawn, he terms Musharraf as the “good Monster”. How he terms a monster â€œgoodâ€ is a separate debate. More amusing is how NFP compares the lawyers and civil society movement during President Musharrafâ€™s time to that of the labour class movement during the legendary Zulfiqar Ali Bhuttoâ€™s.
Thanks to the patronage given by the Musharraf regime to mostly youth-oriented art forms and activities, and owing to the relationship that developed between this and the open media policies of the government, cultural policies of the regime eventually gave birth to an interesting phenomenon. However, just as Z.A. Bhuttoâ€™s cultural policies had managed to attract widespread engagement from the masses, only for this new consciousness to ironically play itself into the hands of those wanting to pull Bhutto down, Musharraf today is faced with a similar quandary.
To say the middle class movement is a legacy of Musharraf is about as accurate as saying environmental protection is the legacy of Tony ‘Bliar’.
While I may agree to the point that indeed President Musharraf succeeded in bringing the middle class in Pakistanâ€™s politics, this is no way indication of their support for him. What it shows in reality is that the extent of disapproval with the military government is so massive in Pakistan that even the vast silent majority who have never before played a part in Pakistanâ€™s politics have now decided to come on streets and protest against the establishment.
However not all packages in Santaâ€™s bags are reserved for the government. The fact that we will be having election under a civilian President and that the state of emergency maybe lifted tomorrow as announced by the President is still something to rejoice for. At least for the time being!
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Filed in: Current affairs,Pakistan,South Asia