Today is Nawab Akbar Bugti assassination’s fourth anniversary. Restive but now flood-ravaged Balochistan is on payyah jam. Fire, bullets and now water engulf the Baloch – reminiscent of the cyclone Bhola in 1970 that devastated Bangladesh and pushed the angry eastern half of Pakistan over the edge – a year later to emerge as an independent nation. Baloch nationalists and Pervez Musharraf-bashers point fingers at him for Bugti killing. There has been no public probe nor can the nation expect one. They are not used to it. The system expects all to follow Lagey Raho Munna Bhai SOP!
Meanwhile, Musharraf is in the headlines. First he announced he won’t come back this year. But his political party APML is quietly and discreetly operating in Pakistan. They intend to make Karachi and Islamabad their staging grounds I am told. Orangi Sector 7 and Rawalpindi - my source tells me. Then came the news that he is forming a foundation for flood relief. Today he called the family of the Sialkot brothers and condoled their deaths. He also strongly condemned the Sialkot police’s silent spectator role in the lynching of their sons. Did he introspect Bugti’s killing today? If he ordered Bugti killing as Army chief then on military’s unified command doctrine he may be responsible. If he did so as the President then on collective leadership doctrine he may have a legal argument in his defense. But the nation by and large feels he overplayed his hands on this onne also. Earlier it was the Lal Masjid. Whether the nation will overlook the matter if and when he returns is another matter. Baloch won’t – specially if you have dishonored them.
Almost two years back I wrote a blog on Musharraf. It is still relevant. Here it is:
AUG 19, 2008: Musharraf has quit as President- typically in a commando style: resilient, sans apologies – defending his actions – highlighting his achievements – focusing on rivals’ shortcomings and weaknesses – hoping that Pakistan will come out shining but in the same breathe alluding to ominous signs of impending external and internal threats.
His parting diatribes seem to be a borderline case of delusional-cum-polemical chicaneries – an understandable mental manifestation of someone who have been pushed to move his butt off the high altar where he has been sitting so long. If I had a buddy like Bush on my side always, I would probably be the same – may be even worse. Interestingly both have been delusional to the extreme.
While running for the presidentship, Bush couldn’t name the new leader of Pakistan, i.e. Gen. Musharraf. But after Sept. 11, things changed overnight – whether for the good or for the worse only history will tell.
Musharraf became the most crucial but ultimately the most frustrating ally of the U.S and Bush’s personally. In the process, however Musharraf became a “personal friend” of George Bush – the latter often called him his ‘buddy’.

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Ironically, U.S. has “no permanent friends nor permanent enemies”. So is it about Musharraf and USA. The region has become so murky that even the strongest Chlorox can’t clean it up. Stains will remain for ever. Welcome to the club, Commando! He once said, he never blinked – because he had “cat’s 9 lives”.
Interestingly though, he is not yet fully depreciated politically (my personal opinion), even age wise and “nuisance value” wise. He has of course proved that he is neither a Ayub Khan nor a Yahya, nor a Bhutto! And, he has already proved he is not a Zia either!
He ended up getting the farewell guard of honor, has a President’s security details, is lodged in Army Chief’s house, shall remain in the country, can speak to the media, etc. and says will issue a White Paper on the dire strait of the economy.
As I watched his unapologetic monologue on the TV, my mind tried to visualize him on the day after. And I saw him out there, kicking and throwing dust all around.
Possibly a comeback kid one day? In some form or the other?
We got to wait to see if that will happen for at least a year or so, since there appears to be a two-year restriction on government officials from entering politics. Meanwhile he will maintain sophisticated connect with the media and the people using ‘surprise’ as a Commando’s greatest weapon!
Muttahida, PML(Q), PML(F), etc…any or all may want him in one way or another. He has the potential to unite or divide the MQMs, provide alternate leadership to the Muhajirs in Karachi, has the knack to attempt to create a Punjab-Karachi constituency for himself – provided the establishment, including Uncle Sam, supports him and wants that to happen. Full of surprises Pakistan politics is.
Since the war on terror will go on….Musharraf, a known ally, offers alternate leadership. The U.S. has spent a lot on him. He is an “asset” by all definitions, some say. Meanwhile take a break Commando. Go golfing!