July 24, 2009

Mush: The Reformer (that never was) haunted by Political Legitimacy

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 6:42 am

General (r) Pervaiz Musharraf had been the GOC in Okara and a role model in all respects. Training, administration, welfare or extra curricular, he was seen everywhere. In the evenings, he with his wife were a common sight, sitting at the bedside of patients and inquiring their welfare as also keep the hospital staff on toes. I remember my course mate Lt. Col Zia getting a cardiac arrest. The couple sat through the night outside the CCU and wept profoundly when his death was announced in the morning. His presence brought a big developmental and social change in the deserted garrison. He played sports with youngsters, took care of their professional development and was always considered a mentor. I remember him as a Corps Commander in Mangla, when he brought me his personal life jacket for surfing and looked after my family as a personal guest.He was a commander and leader who lived in hearts and minds.

I knew him close enough to be candid and tell him his wrongs on his face. He always accepted criticism positively and sometimes graciously conceded. The day he took over, he was obsessed with devolution. As a staff officer, I had to remind him through presentations that devolution and local self government were two different things. He never comprehended and kept vacillating between the two and thats when a rigidity in his mindset became apparent. Some of his immediate staff members like the DGMO did not persevere either. Had they been as apt as I was, things could have been different. Today,we see a renewal of this concept in devolution of Punjab.

I protested that Seven Points Agenda was Utopian and beyond reach. I wanted it to be reduced to Law and Justice at Grassroots, Education and Fast Track Socio Economic Development. I reminded him of Khalil Gibran who said that a day would come when even monkeys would disclaim kinship with us. As they gathered around him and we got isolated, he persisted that he could could power through all difficulties and achieve the impossible. Thats when the real Musharraf I saw as a GOC began to fade away.

I insisted through noting that we were a declared nuclear state and ought to manifest very responsible international behavior as also get Kargil off our backs. I was most vocal of the rising tide of militancy. Perhaps he still does not realize the damage it caused to Pakistan.

In a noting on 13 October 1999, I warned him to beware of Fly by Night Reformers as they would lead him off course. He entertained all of them with Shaukat Aziz in command. As he isolated himself from well wishing critics, a jingoist began to emerge.

I was weary of the CBR plans for Tax Reforms ( Value addition through Sales Tax). I told both the DGMO and CGS that Pakistan was economically doomed. Shaukat Aziz launched a strong protest for my removal. As of today, this reform has led to a berserk Sales Tax regime, more a levy than a value addition. It has closed small scale manufacturing sectors, discouraged growth and ushered consumerism.

I noted that the biggest test of his sincerity would be his honorable retirement on the due date. In the same note I also warned against the hazards of pro military political groupings. He underlined my comments and proceeded to make PMLQ.

There is a lot more but………………….


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