December 09, 2019
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Bull's Eye

"What's going on in Pakistan?" I asked. "Musharraf is fighting with his back to the wall," he said. "That is a pity," I said. "No, that's a blessing," he said...

Bull's Eye
Bull's Eye
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The other day I ran into an MEA expert on Pakistan. "What’s going on in Pakistan?" I asked. "Musharraf is fighting with his back to the wall," he said.

"That is a pity," I said.

"No, that’s a blessing," he said. "Now Musharraf will have to get off the fence. He must choose between the fundamentalists and democratic civil society." "That’s good," I said.

"No, that’s bad," he said. "This is the worst time to take on the fundamentalists. Liberal elements are badly divided between supporters of the chief justice and the supporters of Musharraf!"

"Tsk-tsk! Confrontation was avoidable," I said.

"No, it was necessary," he said. "Now once and for all Pakistan will be forced to decide whether democratic law or the law of the mullahs must prevail."

"This will clear up things," I said.

"No, it will confuse things," he said. "Both the MQM and PPP favour democracy. But the MQM favours Musharraf while the PPP favours the chief justice!"

"That is a setback," I said.

"No, it is an opportunity," he said. "Now the Pathans and MQM Mohajirs are battling it out in Karachi. There is sharp polarisation of Pakistan’s society. Both groups are using arms against each other. Violence will increase!"

"Won’t that be harmful?" I asked.

"It could be helpful," he said. "The Pathans supply the drugs from the poppy fields of Afghanistan while the Mohajirs organise the sale. This violence will weaken the narcotics mafia."

"That’s good," I said.

"It could be bad," he said. "In this fight, one group could emerge as clear winner. Thereby violence would get a unified command! So this violence could strengthen Musharraf."

"That’s positive," I said.

"It’s negative," he said. "Strengthening Musharraf will only weaken the pro-democracy movement in Pakistan. Musharraf could become a dictator!"

"That will be dangerous," I said.

"It may be safe," he said. "As a dictator, Musharraf could control the army and curb the jehadis to ensure the unity of Pakistan." "That will be good," I said.

"No, that will be bad," he said. "Musharraf’s continued reliance on the army could make dictatorship permanent and stall Pakistan’s democracy forever."

"The Pakistan situation is very complex," I said.

"No, it’s very simple," he said. "Pakistan is a mess!"


(Puri can be reached at rajinderpuri2000@yahoo.com)

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