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When the roads were deserted…

I was in Pakistan in summers of 2008, when on trips to Lahore and Salt Ranges-Khewra, I had read road side walls that were scribbled with slogans against General Musharraf, the same roads that had once slogans and banners praising him when he became Chief Executive of Pakistan in 1999 and people distributed sweets and performed celebratory ‘Bhangras’ on roads. One wall on the way to Lahore read something like ‘Lal Masjid ki masoom bachiyun kay Qatil Musharraf ko Phansi(God forbid, even my hands trembled writing this but had to mention it) do’… this was the level of hatred against Pakistan Army, against General Musharraf and the extent of the extremism element thriving in society.
In media, there were news and rumors everywhere about impeachment and resignation of the president. It was August 2008 when we were at our grandparents home when my dad called my mother and told her that he had obtained a Saudi riyal for Rs. 28, and people were saying that the currency was depreciating due to rumours of resignation of General Musharraf. This was distressing as I remembered those years when in 2005-2006 and 2007 the exchange rate was 14-17 rupees. I was changing channels in the evening when I heard one anchor saying “… Hosakta hai Sadar Sahab aj raat 14 August ki taqreer main qaum ko isteefay ki khush khabri sunaen…”. I was shocked since I had heard these lines with my own two ears “Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf”.
Due to the policies of General Pervez Musahrraf, the industrial sector experienced a boom as well as other sectors of the economy such as IT and Telecommunication. And now, clips announcing his impending resignation were being announced as ‘Khush Khabri’!  Social Media though was not active in 2008 but I read derogatory comments and the insulting titles of articles written across various print and electronic forums such as ‘The Dying Sun…’ and ‘The General in his Labyrinth’ etc.
When I read the line “Court issues non-bailable arrest warrant for Pervez Musharraf in Abdur Rashid Ghazi Murder Case”, I was shocked at the hypocrisy of this society that is rallying for the arrest of Maulana Abdul Aziz but silent on Lal Masjid case against General Musharraf.  On one hand there are cases against General Musharraf, an internationally acclaimed Commando and on the other, there are such pleading lines plastered across banners that say “Khuda kay lyay…Jaanay ki baat Jaanay do” for General Raheel Sharif. When in fact both follow the same principle of ‘Pakistan First’!
 Now when I read and hear about ‘sprouting’ rallies in favor of General Raheel Sharif, I am reminded of the deserted roads in 2008 when no one came out for General Musharraf. In the end I would like to say to this to the nation:-
YOU did not stop General Musharraf from LEAVING…now YOU cannot stop General Raheel from RETIRING…because our army has learned the lesson of ‘this time’ and ‘that time’!
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