Is Pervez Musharraf Today’s Hitler?
Pervez Musharraf has been Pakistan’s leader for 8 years and many wonder if he is doing to Pakistan what Adolf Hitler did to Germany in the 1930’s. Musharraf has told many lies since his regime came to power over Pakistan in 1999. The Asian Development Bank describes the country that is in its 60th year of independence as a country with “poor governance, endemic corruption, and social indicators that are among the worst in Asia. A survey taken by Transparency International said that the Pakistani public perceives the first and second terms of Musharraf as being more corrupt than the first and second terms of previous administrations led by Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Shariff. Musharraf told the people that under his administration the corruption issues would be “cleaned up,” but since his take over, the corruption within the higher ranks of the military and government has only become worse. Musharraf’s rule over the past eight years was supposed to improve governmental leadership, establish new policies, and bring a brighter future for the country of Pakistan.
Instead, Musharraf’s leadership has made Pakistan much worse than ever during the past 60 years. Pervez Musharraf was born on August 11th, 1943 in Delhi, British India. He came from a long line of civil servants. When Musharraf’s grandfather, Qazi Mohtashimuddin, retired as the commissioner of undivided Punjab he purchased the Neherwali Haveli section of the old walled-in city of Delhi, where Musharraf was born. After the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, Musharraf’s family went to Pakistan, where his dad, Syed Musharraf Uddin, joined the Pakistan Foreign Service and later retired as the secretary of foreign affairs.
Musharraf not only had a smart and politically active father, his mother, Zarin, had many accomplishments and got a high job the United Nations. She received her master’s degree from the University of Lucknow in 1944 (“Pervez Musharraf” 1). Musharraf had his first direct experience with death when he fell from a mango tree as a teenager and almost died. Musharraf went to high school at Saint Patrick’s School in Karachi. He graduated from there in 1958, later he attended a Christian college in Lahore. He participated in a certificate course for media management from Delhi.
He is said to have been good in mathematics during his schooling days (“Pervez Musharraf” 1). Musharraf later married Begum Sehba, who is from Okara. They have a son, Bilal, who is a graduate student at Stanford University and currently works in the Silicon Valley. They have a daughter as well, Ayla Raza, who works as an architect in Karachi. Musharraf and his wife have four grandchildren, two from each child (“Pervez Musharraf” 2). Musharraf became the Head of Government of Pakistan following a bloodless coup de’tat on October 12, 1999.
That day, Shariff tried to fire Musharraf and setup Inter – Services Intelligence (ISI) Director Khwaja Ziauddin in his place (Musharraf, The Indispensable Ally, Grows More Confident” 1). Musharraf, who was out of the country, boarded a jet to fly back to Pakistan. Shariff ordered the Karachi airport to close and delay the landing of Musharraf’s plane, which then circled over the airport. The generals ousted the Shariff administration and took over the airport. The plane landed with only a few more minutes of fuel. Musharraf then assumed control of the government.
Shariff was placed under house arrest and later exiled where he remained until November 25th, 2007 (Musharraf, The Indispensable Ally, Grows More Confident” 2). Senior Army Generals did not accept Shariff’s dismissal deeming it “unconstitutional. ” The existing President of Pakistan, Rafiq Tarar, remained in office until June 2001. Musharraf formally appointed himself President on June 20, 2001, just days before his planned visit to Agra for talks with India. Shariff and other leaders have subsequently been stopped from entering Pakistan.
Reportedly, the disagreement between Musharraf and Shariff was based upon the Prime Minister’s desire to get a diplomatic resolution to the conflict with India in the Kashmir region. Shortly after Musharraf’s takeover, several people filed court petitions challenging the assumption of power taken by Musharraf and his followers (“Pervez Musharraf” 3). However, he got the Oath of Judges Order 2000 issued. It made the judges take a fresh oath of office swearing allegiance to the military rule and to agree they would make no decisions that would go against the military.
Many judges refused to take their new oath and so resigned in disgust and protest (“Pervez Musharraf” 4). On May 12, 2001, the Pakistani Supreme Court ordered Musharraf to hold national elections by October 12, 2001; elections in Pakistan took place early in the year 2001. In an attempt to legitimize his presidency and assure its continuance after the approaching restoration of democracy, he held a referendum on April 30, 2002 to extend his term to five years after the October elections. However, the referendum was boycotted by the majority of Pakistani political parties, which later complained that the vote was heavily rigged.
Musharraf later went on television to apologize for irregularities in the voting for the referendum. General elections were held in October 2002 and more seats were won in the Parliament by the Pakistani Muslim league which is a pro – Musharraf party. It formed a majority coalition with independents and allies such as the Mohajir Quami Movement (MQM) which is a movement based on peaceful struggle (“Pakistan’s Leader Faces Increasing Political Challenges” 1). In December 2003, Musharraf made a very nice deal with Muttuhida Majlis-e-Amal, a six member coalition of Islamic parties, agreeing to leave the army by December 31st, 2004.
With that party’s support, pro Musharraf legislatures were able to muster up the 2/3 super – majority required to pass the 17th amendment, which retroactively legalized Musharraf’s 1999 coup and his many decrees. Parties opposed to the Musharraf Presidency effectively paralyzed the National Assembly for over a year (Pakistan’s Leader Faces Increasing Political Challenges” 2). The following month, Musharraf handed over certain powers to the newly elected Parliament. The National Assembly elected Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali as Prime Minister, who in return appointed his own cabinet members to power.
In late 2004, Musharraf went back on his agreement with the MMA and pro – Musharraf legislators in the Parliament passed a bill allowing Musharraf to keep both offices (Pakistan’s Leader Faces Increasing Political Challenges” 4). When Musharraf came to power, he claimed that the corruption in the government would be significantly cleaned up and put to a stop without hesitation. However, many analysts said that his regime has done little to stop the corruption even years into Musharraf’s administration, but there have been many instances where his regime has just fueled the fire of this corruption.
There have also been allegations that corrupt servicemen aren’t being prosecuted because of the junta’s clout (“Pakistani Sets Emergency Rule, Defying the U. S. ” 3). According to a survey done by Transparency International, Pakistani public opinion perceived the first and second terms of Musharraf’s administration as respectively more corrupt than the first and second terms of Bhutto and Shariff, who were the previous two leaders of Pakistan.
According to a combined poll by Dawn News, Indian Express, and IBN, a majority believe that corruption has been getting worse and finally peaked during Musharraf’s administration (“Pakistani Sets Emergency Rule, Defying the U. S. ” 5). In one such case regarding the privatization of the Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation, whose worth was stated to be 15. 2 billion dollars, and which was sold out for a mere . 52 billion dollars. Pakistani media also alleged that the individual corporation of the previous government was replaced by institutionalized corruption of the Pakistan Army, awarding land deeds and a life of luxury to its officers.
Later in 2007, his government spent millions of dollars to hire teams of lawyers to represent the government in all of it’s legal battles (“Pervez Musharraf” 5). The people of Pakistan who were a bit more radical about their hatred towards the Musharraf administration made sure that he and his associates knew just how much they hated him. On December 14, 2003, Musharraf survived an assassination attempt when a powerful bomb went off minutes after his highly guarded convoy crossed a bridge in Rawalpindi.
Musharraf was apparently saved by a jamming device in his limo that prevented the remote control explosives from blowing up the bridge as the convoy passed over it. This was one of many attempts to kill Musharraf (“Pervez Musharraf” 6). On December, 2003, two suicide bombers tried to assassinate Musharraf, but their car bombs failed to kill Musharraf. Unfortunately, 16 others nearby died instead. Musharraf escaped with nothing but a very slight and insignificant crack on the window of his car. Militant Amjad Faraqi was apparently behind these attacks and was killed by Pakistani forces in 2004 after an extensive manhunt (“Pervez Musharraf” 7).
On July 6, 2007, there was another attempted assassination, when an unknown group fired a submachine gun at Musharraf’s plane as it took off from a runway in Rawalpindi. Security forces also recovered two anti aircraft guns which never got used. On July 17, 2007, Pakistani police detained 39 people in relation to the attempted assassination of Musharraf. The people suspected for this assassination are still being held at an undisclosed location by a joint team of Punjab Police, FIA, and other Pakistani intelligence agencies (“Musharraf May Resign Presidency” 1).
Recently, Musharraf has been considering stepping down for the good of Pakistan. Dr. Mohammad Zubair Khan, the former Commerce Minister, says that, “The time has come for Musharraf … he has to go, otherwise he is destabilizing Pakistan. ” Many Pakistanis say that they want to see Musharraf go, but they are afraid that there will be more economic problems than they already have if he does leave office. Musharraf has told many reporters and many interviewers that he wants to find “a graceful way out,” of his presidency.
He says he doesn’t want to just step down and force parliament to have two major offices to fill in a short amount of time (“Musharraf May Resign Presidency” 1). In conclusion, Musharraf’s administration has only made Pakistan more corrupt since his takeover in 1999. The corruption issues he talked about cleaning up have only become synonymous with the fact that he has not only done nothing to clean them up, but he has made them worse than ever before under Shariff or Bhutto. For the sake of Pakistan, Musharraf needs to leave the office of President and Prime Minister as soon as possible.