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     Volume 5 Issue 115 | October 6, 2006 |

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Lost in the 'bush'


Pakistan president General Pervez Musharraf says he along with his fellow soldiers wept when East Pakistan was separated to become Bangladesh and 90,000 Pakistani troops were captured by the Indian army.

Wrong! 90,000 Pakistani troops surrendered to the joint command of Bangladeshi and Indian forces.

Musharraf said he along with a company of Special Security Group (SSG) commandoes were tasked to go to East Pakistan before it fell.

"My troops were brimming with confidence and we were all set to go when the ceasefire was announced and East Pakistan was forcibly torn away from us to form the separate state of Bangladesh. It was a terrible day.”

M. Islam writes from Houston, Texas in 'News from Bangladesh':

He does not seem to be at all sympathetic towards the atrocities and destruction his soldiers committed against innocent Bangalees; as if he was angry at his leadership for surrendering? It seems he wanted to continue killing Bangalees in the name of saving Pakistan. He was not satisfied with all the killings and destruction they did against Bangladesh. His mission was to keep the country together regardless of what it took killing, raping and burning.

Musharraf wrote in his book 'In the Line of Fire': "I broke down and cried. All my brave soldiers cried with me. It remains most sad and most painful day of my life".


You say you cried Musharraf! Do you know what crying really is? Have you seen my mother weeping, thirty-five years after you bayoneted her life to a vacuum, her cheeks all dried up? Do you know when people really cry they do not break down, as you bizarrely claim you did on 16 December? They weep from so deep within their spirit that the heavens moan in empathy.

You say you cried Musharraf! You mean to say you no longer do. Do you know (Oh how would you?) that my mind, my body, my soul, are blessed to cry forever, for we grieve not over losing the spoils of a war; a freedom-fighter never does. We mourn, and we shall till the final sunrise, but for the sacrifices that we had to make for the love of our mother, for self-emancipation.

Just as today you write that you are, in 1971 you put us “in the line of fire”. Years on you so simply stooped when threatened by an external menace, not a shot was required to be fired. Instead, you championed their distorted motives for going to a war against human values, motives condemned as lies by their own people. Back then we held our heads high in the worst of perils. We fought for the pride that we earned. Now you know why, despite being militarily mightier, why you lost in our War of Liberation.

You cried for losing a market you exploited in the name of Islam for twenty-four long years. You cried because your ego was shattered. You cried because you lost a war. We too cried over unknown martyrs. The bullet-riddled soul of my son fuelled my potency. The raped conscience of my sister made me clench my fist in resolve, only you did not see. The mutilated corpse left by your dogs made me vow to prise out your very gullet. In the end we cried because we won; you otherwise.

It is not for me to comment on a book written by a foreign military dictator, who took his country hostage seven years ago and abrogated the Constitution. But when the author mentions an issue as sensitive as our glorious Victory Day, and quite unwarranted, as if to fill the pages, it becomes a matter of interest for every nationalistic Bangalee.

The saner elements across Pakistan consider your book an attempt to distort facts and have denounced it. It has become a bestseller in India. And why not? Who does not love to see the enemy humiliated?

Pakistani commentator Amir Mir, writing about Musharraf's book in the Frontier Post, has a different take. For him, Musharraf's memoir may seek to paint Pakistan's military ruler in glowing colours, but he shall continue to be seen by Pakistanis as a "self-obsessed and power-hungry man, who would go to any extent to remain in power." Musharraf portrays himself as an honourable chap whom the world can trust to keep his promises. But "in Musharraf's seven years of power, he has gone back on all the pledges he has ever made."

Ayaz Amir, writing in Dawn, is at his usual acerbic best while commenting on In the Line of Fire. "There is the precedent of Field Marshal (self-appointed) Ayub Khan's ghost-written attempt at autobiography, Friends, Not Masters. It made a splash as long as he was President. But it ended up on the footpaths where second-hand books are sold when he left office. In time, it was sold as raddi, the more evocative Urdu word for rubbish," writes Amir, "So we shouldn't be too surprised if another soldier-President has fallen for the same temptation although as patriotic Pakistanis we should hope that Gen Musharraf's book doesn't meet a fate similar to that of Ayub's unfortunate memoir."

You are lost in that American bush that even Native Americans are fleeing from. Little surprise then that you stole the title of your book from the 1993 Clint Eastwood movie “In the Line of Fire” about a Secret Service agent who having failed to prevent the Kennedy assassination in 1963 tries to come to terms with his past, while attempting to stop another Presidential assassination, matters you are unfortunately well acquainted with.

In reference to post 9/11, the mohajir from Delhi wrote in his “manufactured memoirs”:
“When I was back in Islamabad the next day, our director-general of Inter Services Intelligence, who happened to be in Washington, told me on the phone about his meeting with the US deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage. In what has to be the most undiplomatic statement ever made, Armitage added to what Colin Powell had said to me and told the director-general not only that we had to decide whether we were with America or with the terrorists, but that if we chose the terrorists, then we should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age.”

Musharraf told CBS News of the USA. "I took it that the United States, after having whatever happened to the World Trade Centre, would be a wounded country a wounded sole superpower and they are going to do anything to counter and to punish the perpetrators. Now, if we stand in the way of that, we are going to suffer."

Is it befitting for a General to surrender to another army because he thought his defence forces would be crushed? In fighting for your motherland one is never ever defeated. Even if they never find a speck of your body, your mind and your soul live forever. That lesson you should have learnt from us the day you and your soldiers burst into tears.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2006