Monday, June 11, 2007

Of Musharraf and Mandela

Source: The News

Dear Mr President

By Dr Farrukh Saleem

Sir, you have been serving Pakistan for the past forty-three years. In 1965, Lieutenant Musharraf defended us in Khem Karan. As second lieutenant you are witness to the largest tank battle in military history since World War II. You defended Lahore. You defended Sialkot. You defended us at Chawinda. Company Commander Musharraf defended Punjab in 1971. You "broke down and wept" when we surrendered to India.

Sir, you kept Pakistan from harm after September 11. Pakistan now produces more cars than ever before and we produce more motorcycles than ever before. Pakistanis are richer now than ever before. More women sit in our National Assembly than ever before and the budgetary allocation for education is higher than ever before.

Sir, you gave us GEO, ARY and AAJ. You showed us what electronic media is all about. You gave us MAST FM103, City FM89 and HUM FM106. You taught us the real meaning of entertainment. Sir, you will be sixty-four on 10 August 2007 (average life expectancy at birth of a Pakistani male is 62.73 years). Please -- pretty please -- take some time off your supremely hectic schedule. Please spend some time thinking of how you would like to be remembered. Please spend a portion of that time with people whose own jobs are not dependent on you; whose livelihood is not dependent on you remaining in office.

Sir, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela spent twenty-seven years of his adulthood in a prison cell on Robben Island, five years in the presidency and then voluntarily walked away from all trappings of power. 'Madiba', as his countrymen call him, shall never die.

Sir, your road is forking out to either democracy or repression (no third choice). Democracy is dirty business, repression even dirtier. What we see out on the streets is not a law and order issue, it's politics.

Sir, you have already devoted two-thirds of your life serving this country of ours. You have been giving and you have given a lot. Please don't take back GEO, ARY or AAJ. Please don't take back your gifts. There are Pakistanis who want you to be remembered as a giver not a taker.

Sir, Colonel George Washington took Fort Duquesne for America. General George Washington led America to victory over Britain. President George Washington was president for eight years and then voluntarily walked away from all trappings of power. George Washington lives on.

Lieutenant Musharraf was awarded Imtiaz-I-Sanad for gallantry. Captain Musharraf got Nishan-e-Imtiaz and Tamgha-e-Basalat. Brigadier Musharraf commanded an infantry brigade with distinction. Major General Musharraf commanded an infantry division. Lieutenant General Musharraf commanded 1 Corps, our elite strike corps. President Musharraf has been president for nearly eight years. Pakistanis want him to be remembered as Pakistan 's Madiba; only if the president would let us, only if the president chooses the right path.

Sir, scientists at the University of Leeds named the heaviest of all particles that they had discovered as 'Mandela particle'. London's Borough of Brent named a road after Mandela. Rome gave Mandela honorary citizenship. City Council of Dublin dedicated a sculpture. A park in Hull, UK, has been named ' Mandela Park '.

Sir, we want to name our parks, our roads and our discoveries after you. Only if you let us. Please be our Madiba not our oppressor. Madibas live forever oppressors die.

Sir, the United States Navy built USS George Washington, the sixth ship in the Nimitz class of nuclear-powered super carriers. USS George Washington is the fourth ship to be named after President George Washington. What more can a solider want?

Sir, we want to name our ships after you.

The writer is an Islamabad-based freelance columnist. Email:


Beena said...

N.Akash, U r politics saavy or wat? anyway good one

Nepali Akash said...

No Beena,

I'm not. Sometimes you have to understand things that you do not like, just to make sure you really don't like it.