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Time for Nuance on Musharraf

by Khaled Ahmed

Farooq Naeem—AFP

Musharraf is not the bogeyman.

Pervez Musharraf, former President and Army chief, has stirred a hornet’s nest of media judgment by pronouncing, on television no less, that he was let off a treason case last March after intervention by Gen. Raheel Sharif, the-then Army chief. Speaking from Dubai, where he was supposed to get treatment for his legally ailing back, he also implied that General Sharif had pressured the Supreme Court into letting him fly out of Pakistan.

Pakistan has for years focused on Musharraf’s overthrow of the Nawaz Sharif government in 1999, his dismissal of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in 2007, and his ouster of scores of judges, including Chaudhry again, that same year. (Musharraf was humbled and politically damaged by the nationwide lawyers/opposition protest against his treatment of judges.) His 1999 adventure on Kargil was a blunder abetted by two jihadist generals who were close to him and who didn’t like his realism when he changed tack in favor of the U.S. in 2001 following a Chapter VII U.N. resolution on Afghanistan after 9/11. It was wrong then and is still wrong today to blame him for joining the war against terrorism.

In fact, having dumped the duo of jihadist generals, the trigger-happy commando compensated for the Kargil fiasco by seeking to normalize relations with India. He produced an out-of-the-box solution to the perennial Kashmir problem that many even today think is the only way forward if nuclearized India and Pakistan want to coexist peacefully. He then did something no one could think of doing: he called off the jihad of Pakistan’s nonstate actors in Kashmir. This paved the way for his downfall, with both his proxy warriors and state actors responsible for Pakistan’s asymmetrical war turning on him.

The reinstated Chief Justice Chaudhry—for whom the entire country was convulsed and who stands thoroughly discredited today—harmed Pakistan much more than Musharraf through his suo motu assault on the country’s justice system.

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1 comment

Ali S December 23, 2016 - 3:21 pm

Hindsight is always 20/20, and in Pakistan’s case it’s useless because we never learn from it


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