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Pervez Musharraf – A Good Leader

I recently sat and watched a documentary titled Dinner with the President as part of the BBC’s Why Democracy Season. During the duration of the documentary I was astounded at some of the views that members of the public held. One view which stuck in my head was the view of young Sanam Saeed on the beach stating “I remember the days of Benazir Bhutto, I remember the days of Nawaz Sharif and I’ve certainly lived through the days of Musharraf, and I can proudly say that he has done our country good… we have the freedom to do what we want and we have the confidence in him that he will better our nation.” Whether she still holds onto this view is a different story but she definitely had a point.

The programme itself though centred on a more pressing issue the question which is still being utilised currently in Pakistan the conflict between dictatorship and democracy. Pervez Musharraf this so called dictator who actually gave Pakistan their democratic rights and gave Pakistan the freedom which the citizens, media and government enjoy now. The so called democratically elected parties (PPP/PMLN) who amongst all their faults, corruption and thefts sit at the throne of Pakistan enforcing so called democracy. The situation though seems quite opposite to what it should be, the dictator (given by opponents of Pervez Musharraf) was actually not a dictator but extremely far from it, he was a moderate, liberal and educated man who according to some was the most patriotic Pakistani leader in history, he was an army chief who enforced that the rule of the parliament should be sustained, he was the army chief who bought to Pakistan the 2002 elections. He was the man who according to female politician Kashmala Tariq enforced women’s rights in Pakistan “something which didn’t even happen when a woman was prime minister,” he was the man who liberated Pakistan attempting and bettering every single institution in Pakistan, he was an evolutionary leader who saw change and a vision in Pakistan’s future, he was the man they called dictator yet he pushed for their democratic rights.

On the flip side relating to the two terms following his departure of the PPP and the PMLN, they were the parties notorious for corruption, they were the parties built in Sheikh Rasheed’s words “By the family, of the family and for the family” (in relation to the Sharif’s and the Bhutto’s). They were parties who allowed Pakistan to suffer while their own pockets and wallets got bigger, they were the parties who allowed for 7000 votes to mistakenly be accepted in the place of 1000. They were initially dictatorship with a democratic hat on. 

We always hear though the same arguments coming from pro PMLN and PPP supporters, Musharraf was a gaddaar, he took us into the war on terror, he derailed democracy, he is America’s friend etc and unfortunately so many people are taken in by these little theories. So just a little clarification, constituting a state of emergency in order to protect the interests of Pakistan is not treason and even the trialling judge of the current Article 6 case has stated there isn’t a case of treason. The war on terror is something which has been looming in Pakistan since the soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Pervez Musharraf saw a potential threat against Pakistani interest after 9/11, the threat of terrorism. 7 years down the line after leaving office of presidency this threat is still bigger than ever. The derailment of democracy is one which is continuously used by the so called democrats who actually fail to address that democracy starts at the grass root levels upwards not elected officials who sit at the top and manage nothing, democracy is currently the name being given to open corruption in Pakistan.

We must also remember that since 2008 at least, not every decision made has been for the betterment and interest in Pakistan, as a society Pakistan is enjoying the fruits that Pervez Musharraf sowed but at the same time the previous and current government seems to be ruining even the good work he did in order for political gain. Examples can be seen in the 5 year PPP lead government where economic growth was merely 1% to 3% over a course of 5 years, and for those that say the PMLN has bought it to 4% they are failing to see that cash injection loans from the IMF, ADB and Saudi Arabia has boosted this so called growth, it is no more than going from worse to bad. 

Some people seem to be so taken in by metro buses and laptops and youth schemes that we fail to see that metro buses are successful only if people have the money to pay to travel on them, laptops are only useful if there is electricity to run them, youth schemes are only capable if the person has an education to fill out the form to collect them. People need to realise that healthcare, education, electricity and other infrastructure are the foundations needed to succeed as a country, let’s not run before we can walk. Don’t get me wrong all the schemes mentioned above are probably necessary in their own context in the right time and space.

Pervez Musharraf as Sanam Saeed stated is a good leader, he led Pakistan to a place where Pakistan hadn’t been before, Pakistan reached economic heights and for once was recognised on the international stage as something other than a hostile country. Unfortunately though certain people in Pakistan are still taken away by laptops and metro buses provided by so called democracies and fail to see the visions and attempts that one had to build a nation we could be proud of and unfortunately we have been taken back to the 1990’s where the PPP and PMLN play catch with us 5 years at a time.=

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