‘Musharraf…’ by Tariq Ali for The Independent, August 19, 2008
General Pervez Musharraf acted swiftly and ruthlessly when he seized power to become Pakistan’s fourth military dictator in October 1999. He proclaimed himself Chief Executive of Pakistan. When he lost the confidence of two key board members—the United States and the Pakistan Army—majority shareholders of Pakistan plc, he realised his time had come. After a rambling, incoherent address to the nation, replete with the most puerile self-justifications, he resigned. He should have done so when his term expired, but afflicted with the power disease, his mind remained impenetrable to the tormented cries from below.
We can only speculate whether he would have lasted nine years had it not been for 9/11 and the “war on terror”. A previous dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq (1977-88), had similarly become a vital cog in the imperial war machine during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The monsters spawned then were the perpetrators of the assault on the Pentagon in 2001. Musharraf and his generals had to unravel the only victory the Pakistan army had ever won: the conquest of Kabul via the Taliban. In a complete about turn, Pakistani military bases were made available to the US to occupy Afghanistan. read more