Musharraf and his one night stand
In the name of God, just go! Like a pimple that just doesn’t go away, General Musharraf reappears with exasperating frequency.
He is invited to grace seminars in Delhi, gives interviews on TV channels where Mr Two-Face spews venom against India and the very next moment, gushes that he is the one and only person who can deliver peace between India and Pakistan. Of course he single handedly almost resolved the six-decade old Kashmir dispute! That is if you believe him AND many of our own commentators who have bought that line, swallowed it, digested it and worse regurgitate it ad nauseam.
How can they, I wonder? A man who is seen as the betrayer-in-chief by his own countrymen, a pathetic army general who lost Pakistan yet another war, who forsook the political leadership of his country, who is an accused in the assassination of a former Prime Minister, who has been shown up as a liar by Pakistan’s biggest, strongest and most generous ally America, who spares no opportunity to bad mouth India and Indians, who peddles lies like it is cotton candy.
Our former army chiefs, retired generals and wise hacks are quick to give him and his ilk the benefit of doubt. Musharraf boasts about the Kargil operation “Hamey fakr hai kii humne dushman (Indian) ke 1700 soldiers marey.” About casualties on the Pakistani side because of his foolhardy military operation, he says very nonchalantly, “Yahii kuch teen sau, sava teen sau”. Just like that. He doesn’t even remember how many of his soldiers died. That too when many bodies were left unclaimed in India, simply because he didn’t want to admit they were his own. What kind of a military commander is this?
And yet General (retired) V K Singh finds something worthy of admiring in General Musharraf. “As far as General Musharraf is concerned, I would like to put it in two ways. One, as a military commander, I would commend General Musharraf for coming 11 km (inside Indian territory) to stay with his troops for a night. It is the courage of a military commander that he came so far knowing that there was danger.”
The retired Army Chief, now budding politician was referring to a Pakistani TV show in which a senior retired officer of Pakistan Army said that Musharraf had stayed for a night inside Indian territory with his troops before the Kargil war erupted in 1999. This claim was denied by General Musharraf’s spokesperson Major General (retired) Rashid Qureshi who said “Such claims are baseless and nonsense,” and that Colonel (retired) Ashfaq Hussain’s remarks “about General Musharraf crossing over the LoC were nothing but preposterous.”
General Musharraf himself has dismissed Ashfaq Hussain as being of unsound mind saying “sab bakwas hai.” But our chaps could not or do not want to wait for the lies on that side of the border to rise and show up as false propaganda. Instead we are waiting for twists from there because we love to outrage.
And twist. General V K Singh did not even wait for our army’s reaction to the claim. He assumed it to be true. He went on to question the Indian army, which supposedly allowed Musharraf to enter and exit at will. More self-flagellation happened in the next 24 hours. Experts surmised that it was indicative of Indian intelligence failure that General Musharraf entered and spent one glorious night in Indian soil when we were at war. Heck. Hostilities hadn’t even started in Kargil then and his own people are saying that Musharraf hadn’t entered Indian territory.
This desire on our part to bring about moral equivalence with Pakistan is so great that we start seeing parallels between their army and ours. We draw parallels between their media and ours, between their civil society and ours. But wait, it gets worse.
Our writers, thinkers and strategists are disbelieving of spokespersons of the government and defence forces, which is understandable. It is a good practice to verify everything. But what is certainly not acceptable is that we are quick to believe concocted statements emanating from Pakistan just because our official spokespersons don’t necessarily react to every comment or charge that comes from Pakistan.
And frankly, this is largely restricted to Pakistan-obsessed Delhi columnists (mea culpa), bureaucrats and uber-desh-bhakts. For others, this entire fracas over another Pakistani-origin-fulmination is like rude and loud honking at a STOP signal. Just go away, will you.
Smita Prakash is Editor, News at Asian News International. You can follow her on twitter @smitaprakash