Musharraf – Can he do it?

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I am a cynic. I have this deep distrust of authority, in any shape, form or style. From the bottom of my heart I believe that there is no such thing as a Good Samaritan. It is a product of a lazy, over-active psychologists imagination.

This same cynicism carries over to our present day government. When Mr. Musharraf came to power, his style, action and language branded him in my eyes as another power-hungry self-supremist. With the added aura of all those rumors we all heard about him is he Muslim does he drink (hey, I’m human of course I pay attention to rumors!!) he was if not worst than all the rest then at least on par with them.

Then came September 11th. We all knew that it meant bad news for Pakistan. (And if it didn’t at the time our ever-vigilant maulvi would ensure that it did.) It was history repeating itself all over again. Of course India was going to try to seize the advantage the situation provided. The question would be what would, (and could), we do about it.

Words were exchanged. Then came the handshake (wonderful move dear chap!) and even then I honestly didn’t believe that Musharraf had it in him to be good for our nation.

With the start of the troop amassment across the Indo-Pakistan border and the LoC, we all finally started to get a little okay more than a little worried. Anti-aircraft guns were deployed on the roofs of major buildings and that was real scary, especially to people of my generation, for whom war was something in the history books or on CNN. It was actually becoming something that could turn into reality. The topic of our lunch conversations would invariably boil down to one question Will there be war?

On the 13th of January, we heard the Musharraf was going to address the nation. It was widely being branded (despite Mr. Powells advice to the contrary) that this speech was going to decide whether war was going to start tomorrow or not. I had stopped listening to Presidents speech a long time ago (I think the last one I heard was when he first came to power), but well, I couldn’t be human and NOT be interested in what he was going to say. So, at 7:30, the whole family gathered around the TV set (I went home from work early just for the fact would you believe). First came the recitation from the Holy Quran (one should always try to guess the gist of a speech by what Ayat is read an ignoramus attempt to spiritually defend his next move); then the National Anthem and then Musharraf started speaking.

Wow! Did he start speaking! The first thing that grabbed me was the fact that he jumped right into it. No apologetic stance, no beating around the bush (I hate that phrase but it does describe an awful lot). He gave it to them! To all of them .He gave it to the Indians, to the religious wanna-be, to the nosey Americans. He said the exact right thing in the exact right way. I would really like to meet his speech-writer. (Half of the time he was visibly reading from hand written notes he can actually think for himself could that be possible?)

Now for the obvious question they were words and good words and strong words and needed words but will they be enough? Wajpaiy and his camp are already screaming the obvious. Words are not enough. They demand action. And so do we. Musharraf has finally managed to gain respect (albeit grudgingly) from me. He would really go up a few notches if he managed to actually do some of the things hes claimed he will.