Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Pervez Musharraf, the invincible dictator, the ever scheming, plotting former General is history now. A thing unimaginable and seemingly out of question only about a year and half back is the fact and reality of today.

But what actually brought about his nemesis? Analysts say it was a combination of several factors, several issues that he got entangled in all at the same time. The first and the most powerful nail in the coffin proved to be his crackdown on the judiciary in Pakistan. On Musharraf's part, this was an attempt to crush the first ever serious voice of dissent within his own country against his autocratic rule. Used completely to having his own way always, Pervez Musharraf underestimated the power of a popular resurgence, which the lawyers' movement eventually became.

His next folly was his crackdown on the national media, the media which he himself allowed to flourish. It is an accepted fact in Pakistan that it was in Musharraf's regime that Pakistani media, TV industry in particular, grew by leaps and bounds. Musharraf's liberal policy towards the media, particularly in the last few years of his regime infused new life into an institution that had largely remained suppressed throughout the six decades of Pakistan's political, or rather, military history. Here again the clever General faltered badly. He failed to gauge the strength of an empowered media. The infamous ransacking of the Geo TV studios in Islamabad was broadcast live by the news channel and viewers throughout the country saw the spectacle of the forceful suppression of their right to freedom of information. This one act and the subsequent curbs on media alienated him from the thinking section of his population.

Soon after, two months to be precise, followed another event. On 10th of July, 2007, Pervez Musharraf ordered the storming of the Lal Masjid in Islamabad to flush out terrorists holed inside. The Lal Masjid episode was a desperate attempt by the former General to appease the powers in Washington who were increasingly getting uneasy and upset with the resurgence of Taliban and Al Qaeda in the areas bordering Afghanistan. Pervez Musharraf, who himself had overlooked and,. therefore, in a way, had allowed terrorist activities within and from Lal Masjid some years back felt intense pressure, and in a bid to prove his loyalty towards the war against terror, did the unimaginable.The act did win him the appreciation of Washington and the international community, but he got further alienated .Fundamentalist groups and factions, some of whom also happened to be his political allies, now became his sworn enemies.

All these factors combined with the changed political equation in Pakistan finally sounded the death knell for the former General who once very famously remarked that like the proverbial cat, he would survive nine lives .But, in his mad pursuit of power, what the former President of Pakistan completely forgot was that there is always a tenth life after the ninth!

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