26.9.06

Musharraf's memoirs are make-believe?

Okay, so he was trying to market his book. Who wouldn’t? And do you believe that if President Musharraf did not give it a plug it wouldn’t sell?

I fail to understand the almost breathless backlash his memoirs In the Line of Fire has resulted in. Not having read the book, one can only comment on the selected, and selective, excerpts that are being published in the media. One fails to understand why there is such incredulity over some of his pertinent comments:

The juicy tidbit about the US “bombing Pakistan to the stone age”, which has been attributed to Richard Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state has created the most controversy.

Why are we so surprised? Has the US not threatened to finish off various nation states and leaders? And now some of his people are calling him a coward because he gave in to American pressure. Oh, pretty please. Since when have other Pakistani leaders been able to stand up against the US? At least this one is candid: “Needless to say, though, I felt very frustrated by Armitage’s remarks. It goes against the grain of a soldier not to be able to tell anyone giving him an ultimatum to go forth and multiply, or words to that effect.”

He also makes the startling allegation that several Indians worked for disgraced scientist A Q Khan’s network in Dubai and India’s uranium enrichment technology “could be a copy’’ of Pakistani centrifuge design.

This is vintage Mushy. He waves a red rag and the bulls come charging. He is trying to open up several closets and rattle many skeletons. Instead of keeping quiet or laughing it off, the head of the Department of Atomic Energy A. Kakodkar has clarified that India’s nuke technology had been developed indigenously! Now there are questions about this uranium technology. According to one report, “India is still struggling with its centrifuge-based enrichment programme.”

Either way, Mush has managed another coup.

His views on the Agra summit where he has spoken about how he and the then Indian prime minister were “humiliated” are nothing new and in fact corroborated by many Indian commentators.

If the Pakistani leader can be accused to trying to score public relations points, then let us not forget that Atal Behari Vajpayee too was in a hurry to “resolve some unfinished business” before his term ended.

If Musharraf is ‘In the line of fire’ it is often for trying to push the envelope. And it isn’t only the one with the cheque from his publishers.

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