Mr General Retired Pervez Musharraf has announced a major come back to the Pakistani Politics for the next national elections. He has announced that he wants to provide the 3rd option to the Pakistani people with strong leadership.
With the incompetency of the present Pakistani administration, and the resulting deterioration of the Pakistani society, Musharraf’s announcement has fulfilled his fan’s hopes. However, there is a concern among many others. The tenure of Musharraf as the dictator of Pakistan was not the era of idealism in the history of Pakistan as Musharraf might have envisioned. His idealism of Enlightened Modernism came back to hound him and led to his resignation in order to avoid the legal consequences of trashing the Pakistani constitution.
That history aside, I have my own concerns. I liked Pervez Musharraf when he took over Pakistan in a bloodless coup in 1999 and I still do for his personality. He has the leadership skills but his ideals and principles are very worrisome.
If Musharraf would run for the Presidency of Pakistan, people will vote him (actually his party) for his personality not for his (or his party’s) ideals. This is the mental plague the Pakistani people are facing today. The problems of Pakistan will never resolve if this mentality of hero-worship continues. People of Pakistan should look at the ideals & principles of the man and party before they vote.
His Values & Principles:
A] His ideals include Enlightened Moderation:-
In the words of Pervez Musharraf:
“The world has been going through a tumultuous period since the dawn of the 1990s, with no sign of relief in sight. The suffering of the innocents, particularly my brethren in faith — the Muslims — at the hands of militants, extremists and terrorists has made it all the more urgent to bring order to this troubled scene. In this spirit, I would like to set forth a strategy I call Enlightened Moderation.” The Washington Post
June 1st 2004, A23.
He explained back in 2004 that this strategy is two-fold. First are the Muslims and that they have to shun violence, and extremism and that they need to be moderate in Islam. The second part of the strategy is the West, especially the United States that it needs to deal the issues of global politics with justice.
There was a fundamental error in the application of this strategy and there still is. United States cannot deal all the issues of global politics with justice because justice would mean going against the interest of the country in many cases or against the interest of the many strong lobbies like AIPAC
, which will not happen by the theories of Pervez Musharraf. More interesting, Musharraf’s theory was published in the Washington Post in 2004, and in 2003 our US troops were ordered to occupy Iraq based on made up “facts,” basically lies.
Muslims also can’t follow his interpretation of moderation in Islam, because first Muslims in general have no knowledge about the teachings of Islam. He admitted that “…Muslims are probably the poorest, most uneducated, most powerless and most disunited people in the world…” and without the proper understanding of Islam, Muslim youth will always be open for the various groups to be used for their agendas. During his tenure he did little to reform the educational system of Pakistan, which is another very evident evidence of the lack of sincerity of all the Pakistani administrations, including his and the present one.
If Musharraf really wanted to see Pakistanis to progress in moderation, the curriculum of the education system of Pakistan would have included more courses on Islamic sciences that had provided a proper and authentic interpretation of Islam to the Pakistani Muslim youth
. This would have limited the reliance of the Pakistani Muslims to seek even basic understanding of Islam from Maulvis or derogatory referred as Mullahs. In fact, he took a contrary course of action. He went onto the reformation of the Madaris (plural of Madrasa- a Islamic seminary), an attempt that has failed in all the previous administrations. The result is that the Pakistanis are now further polarized on racial lines, political lines, and even about the ideology of Two-Nation theory
, the sole reason and argument based on which Pakistan came into being in August, 1947.
Islam is a way of life, and it is moderate if practiced and established appropriately. Musharraf did not do that, in fact based on his actions it felt to many that he just wanted to see Islam less in public. Labels like liberals vs. conservative took ground and conservative came to mean as religious fanatics, and liberals came to mean as people against Islam. The glimpse of it can be seen at many Pakistani blogs. I think even Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s
innovative and contradictory slogan of “Islamic Socialism” did not hurt Pakistan to this extent than the slogan of Enlightened Moderation by Pervez Musharraf. What I am worried now is that if he takes over Pakistan again, the conflict of ideals will just take a step further!
B] His Role Model is Mr. Kamal Ataturk:
Pervez Musharraf when controlled the reign of Pakistan, he told the world that his role model was Kemal Ataturk. Role models are important to understand the person, because it tells us about that person’s ideals and values. Role Models are the example to be emulated by that person. If he had stated that his role models were Umar ibn al-Khattab
, 2nd Khalifa of Muslims known for his administration skills and justice; or Tipu Sultan
, for his religious tolerance and freedom struggle against British colonialism of India in 18th century; or Harun al-Rasheed
, an Abbasid Khalifa whose rule (786 to 809) marked for scientific, cultural and religious prosperity; it would have probably changed the course of Pakistani history. His practical approach would also have been different.
Despite of many great heroes and reformers in the history of Muslims, Pervez Musharraf said that his role model was Kemal Ataturk. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the founder of the modern-day Turkey. He abolished the remnants of the system of Khilafat (caliphate) and reformed Turkey on secular lines.
This is not the only problem though. The greater issue is the response of the Muslims of Hindustan to the changes to the Ottoman Turkey created by the Treaty of Sèvres, which divided the Ottoman empire and distributed its territories to the Allies of WWII. The Hindustani Muslims launched the Khilafat Movement under the leadership of Ali Brothers- Maulana Mohammad Ali Jouhar and Maulana Shaukat Ali– to preserve Ottoman Caliphate, to resist division and distribution of the Ottoman territories to France, Britain and other allied forces. With the collapse of Khilafat Movement due to political differences among Hindustani Muslims, and Ataturks secularization of Turkey, the Ali Brothers joined the All India Muslim League and became the leading figures of the Pakistan Movement. A sign that the support for the Pakistan movement came from people who believed in a Muslim state with Muslim character and to which Pervez Musharraf gave a severe blow.
The reformation of Turkey by Kemal Ataturk besides secularization included, abolition of Arabic, conversion of Turkish language from Arabic alphabets into Latin alphabets, ban on men to have beard and on women to veil themselves. The Adhan
(the Muslim call for prayer) was changed from Arabic into Turkish, going against the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.
Pervez Musharraf’s reformation might not be the same as Ataturk’s reformation but the Pakistani society has culturally drifted away from cultural Islam at a very fast pace during his 8 dictatorial years than any other moment in the Pakistani history. The present heightened debate over the Islamic character of Pakistan among the intellectuals and the masses, the unprecedented fashion show in Karachi and many other such debates and events are the product of the reformation through his Enlightened Moderation theory. This rapid change in the society has just added more tensions in the already polarized nation of Pakistan.
 Please read my two old posts on the Education system of Pakistan: