From commando to a bestselling author

ISLAMABAD, Oct 3: At the end of a quiet lane snaking through the well-heeled Islamabad suburb of Chak Shahzad, a terracotta-coloured house modelled on a Moroccan courtyard home stands amid spreading orchards and wheat fields. mushIt would be a restful, bucolic scene, were it not for the army of 300 policemen, paramilitary personnel, soldiers, snipers and anti-terrorist officers on hand to guard the owner — former president Gen Pervez Musharraf. The one-time dictator is under house arrest, but enjoying detention deluxe: writing his memoirs, working out each day and eating meals cooked by his personal chef. The retired general, who ruled from 1999 to 2008, returned to Pakistan in March after years of self-imposed exile. He came vowing to stand in the general election and ‘save’ Pakistan, but his arrival restarted a barrage of legal cases related to his time in power. The Chak Shahzad house was declared a ‘sub-jail’ by a court in April, and he has lived there in detention since then, as the cases against him grind through the judicial system. As the man who allied his country with Washington in its “war on terror” after the 9/11 attacks, Gen Musharraf is in danger from militants who have vowed to kill him. So his prison and refuge is the house he commissioned back in 2006, at the height of his power, which was still under construction when he was forced from power and into exile. “The house was 95 per cent finished before he left, but the first time he spent a night in the house was after he came back this year,” said Hammad Husain, the architect of the house. Second book According to Mr Husain, the walls of the villa tell the story of Gen Musharraf’s career — photos that form a Who’s Who of world leaders, the swords and guns one might expect of a military man, and a piece from the cloth of Holy Kaaba, which was given by the Saudi king. Aides say Mr Musharraf, 70, is keeping his body in shape with 75-minute workouts every morning and his mind sharp with reading and writing. “He is writing a second book. I have seen the text. He has written substantially but there is still work to be done,” his official spokesman Raza Bokhari said. The new volume will follow on from his first book of memoirs published in 2006, “In the line of fire”. “It is picking up from 2007 onwards, from the peak of his popularity to his downfall, to life in self-imposed exile and then formation of a political party and return to Pakistan,” Mr Bokhari said. The former president lives with his bodyguards, assistants and personal cook in part of the 1,100 square metre house, run under the auspices of the tough Adiyala prison in Rawalpindi. Despite the rigorous security, he still fears his enemies will try to get to him. “His food is not prepared in prison but on the premises, by his cook, for security reasons. He is afraid of being poisoned,” a prison source said. To see him, his family and friends must get permission from the authorities, which can take up to a week. His close family have visited him since his house arrest began, but they spend most of their time abroad. His wife Sehba lives in a luxury apartment in Dubai, his son Bilal is based in the US and his daughter Ayla had to leave Karachi this summer because of threats against her. He keeps a close eye on his legal tussles, accusations his entourage dismiss as politically motivated, “false, fabricated and fictitious”. In Pakistan, court cases can drag on interminably but charges can also be dropped overnight when an agreement emerges to let the accused leave the country. His team admit the cases against him could last years, but insist the old soldier is in top form to “fight another fight he has to fight”. “He is in very good spirits, he’s a strong person. Though he is a little disappointed in the judicial system in Pakistan,” said an aide.—AFP]]>

9 Replies to “From commando to a bestselling author”

  1. @ Mr Shahpar.. Good Analysis of the situation, you have explained well the connection of the political mafias of Chitral and Musharaff factor, i would like to add a few lines. My comment is that we will end up electing Mohi Ud Din family and others related for generations, if we did not understand this marriage of convenience. No one among the Musharaf’s supporters, is willing to question that fact that, why they did not find any alternate candidate apart from this family. Further, the Musharaf leaders in Chitral failed to explain their own performance of their long rule and be fool the masses by emotionally referring to Musharafs contributions, who (Musharaf) never got chance to contest elections. The APML leaders fail to account that their leaders were never interested in Tunnel project from the very beginning.
    We should not let Musharaf factor to be used for generations and become hereditary affair like Jiyalas have been using Bhuttos name. We should be able to question our leaders and if we did not approve them they should not be able to be re-elected.

  2. @Gul Jee and Obaid Ullah: Whatever you people say is based on what you have been listening to people especially typical politicians barking on TV channels. These have no relation with your own life and situation back home in Chitral. Before trying to become champion of democracy, religion, civility, human rights etc etc you just look a few decades back and tell me your worth. People of Chitral used to cross the 10500 feet high snow-bound Lowari pass on foot and carrying the luggage on their back and many of them each year died amid the snow with their bodies eaten up by vultures later on. They remained cut-off for whole winters and the only way to get out or back to Chitral was either go through the pass on foot or in a later stage travel through the lawless Afghan province of Kunar. None of you may have spent a night at the hotels of Arandu while travelling through Kunar. If you do not believe me ask any of your elders he will tell you. Where were your so called champions of democracy to save you from these humiliation before Musharraf and where are they even after the dictator left the presidency.
    Tell me two things. First, has the life of Chitralis changed after the construction of the tunnel or not. Secondly, had Musharraf not constructed the Lowari tunnel, would any political leader have done it. Musharraf was a dictator and he may have committed many crimes and now a cornered man and also a coward, but what he did for us has not only changed our lives but caused a far-reaching positive effect on our future.
    Gul Jee, you seem to be a PPP jiala but your so-called great leader Bhutto was the product of another dictator Ayub Khan. He was the one who broke the country into two to save his own seat. He was a populist man and in order to get votes staged the drama of starting work on Lowari tunnel but succumbed to the pressure of a few clerics and stopped it after a year. But still quite a number of people of Chitral support him.
    My advice to you is just try to understand the issues of Chitral before cursing Musharraf and blindly speaking in favour of Bugti or a terrorist.

    1. I agree with most of what you said. However, you cannot take away credit from Mr. Bhutto and Ataliq Jaffar Ali Shah for initially proposing and starting the work on Lawari Tunnel, it was not a drama and the work started at its full pace during those days. You might check that with your elders (I am not jayala).
      I fail to understand one thing though. If Lawari Tunnel was an issue of life and death for us and it was so crucial for us why we kept on electing Shahzada Mohayudin again and again in the last three decades. I say this because he is the only person responsible as being our elected representative he failed to materialize the project even though once he was a federal minister. Had he been a representative of Dir and Dir would have such a crucial failed project, the Pashtoons would not only have rejected him but would also made him a Ibrat Ka Nishan. And we, on the other hand, elected his son in 2013…the father failed the whole Chitrali population for three decades and we elected his son, Simply amazing.
      It is this stupid loyalty of our people that scares me. The people are loyal to Shahzadas so would elect him, his son, his grandson and so on and the same goes for Musharraf.
      While the reality is, this is democracy not a kingdom. Loyalty is valued in a kingdom and in democracy there is no loyalty. You elect someone and he is responsible to solve your problems, if he fails, change him after five years.

      1. Now do not try to escape the main point by bringing in Chitrali politicians to confuse PM popularity. I never said at any stage that we should support Iftikhar or Ghulam for what Musharraf did for Chitral. Neither I can support Musharraf’s father, son or their aunt just because PM built us the tunnel. But one thing is clear. If Mohiuddin very cleverly took full advantage of PM’s popularity it is his political acumen and the voters should be held responsible for their decision whether wrong or right.
        But keeping PM aside, it is also a truth that Mohiuddin won elections not once, twice, thrice but four times as MNA before his son came in. He was also the first district nazim and chairman of the district council Chitral. If I accept that Mohiuddin was against the tunnel, you should give due credit for building the tunnel despite opposition from the most strong political figure of Chitral. You say that had Mohiuddin been in other areas like Dir, he would have been made Ibrat ka Nishan. I must say you should mourn your bad luck that Chitralis are not like the people of Dir or FATA and PATA or Torghor and would never elect your choice candidates.

        1. I am quite sure that you don’t know what you want to say, its all hazy and it seems you are arguing just for the sake of it. However, let me make myself a little more clear. I have three points to make:
          1. Musharraf did a great job by restarting work on Lawari Tunnel and it is indeed something that no one else (except Bhutto) can do for us in the last 70 years.
          2. Except Lawari tunnel Musharraf did nothing for Chitral. We are not indebted to PM for anything else.
          3. Shahzada Mohayudin did nothing for Chitral during his any tenure. We kept electing him and he built his own empire and did nothing for our Chitral. It was not his political acumen that he became Godfather of Chitral politics but it was due to our shallow thinking, lack of political understanding and disintegration into ethnicity.
          4. Iftikhar and Ghulam Muhammad have nothing to do with PM, they only used his name to grab votes and become MPA and MNA and thats it. It was another example of stupidity on our part to elect them in love of Musharraf whereas it was quite clear that they won’t be able to do anything for us in the next five years.
          And that’s it.

          1. Thank you for finally agreeing to what I was saying. That PM did a wonderful job by constructing the tunnel and it was the thing which no one did for us in 70 years. Ok you you say that except Lowari tunnel Musharraf did nothing for Chitral, I agree to you because this was the life changing project which he did and after opening up of Chitral all other things would be don one by one, I hope. I also said that no political leader did anything for Chitral whether he is Shahzada, his son or Ghulam or Abdul Akbar or Saleem Khan. Yes, it is the job of the politicians to befool the masses and get votes and the same is being done by them.
            But in the end, I remain a fan of PM and every time in winter I cross the Lowari tunnel while going out of Chitral or coming back, I will chant the slogan of Musharraf Zindabad.

  3. Muhtaram Guljee, App nay Baja farmaya, our app kay tamam baton se mera itifaq hai, Hum Chitrali awam apni is sadagi ki wajah se zilat ka shikar hain.. hum ekk aisay admi key liye jan dene key liye tayar hain jis ka na Pakistan mein koi reputation achi hai na internationally.. Iss dictator ne apnay aqqa Amerika ke sath bhi dhoka kiya aur Pakistani Awam ke sath dhoka kiya hai.. Aur Abhi ye Commando larkiyon ti tarha hospital mein ghusa huwa hai aur bahar anay say darta hai.

  4. Dear Rashid, it may be your own estimated and self-made dream that a dictator is a hero. The political history of the world is witnessed that a dictator in any country never be named as a hero but always a zero.. and Musharraf is below zero. You are absolutely wrong that our public is mostly uneducated. No it is your poor research that the public is supporting the dictator. Why the public is not on the road to support him. Did you remember when the dictator came back from the self-exile some years ago how many people were waiting outside the airport to receive him? The people of the great land realized his worth the first day when he threw out the people’s elected govt, when he arrested people’s chief justice, when he attacked the mosque and killed women and children and other innocent people. My great people of the great land already realized when he invited the foreign troops to attack the beautiful valley of Swat and killed countless innocent people, the people have already realized when he killed Bugti tribal reader Akber Khan Bugti only for his own purpose, not the public interest. The AWAAM realized when he allowed the never ending drone attacks on Pakistan. These are a few examples of the exemplary work of the dictator in Pakistan. So please now you have to decide yourself is he a hero or zero?

  5. Excellent article as always. Pervez Musharraf is a true HERO of Pakistan. Unfortunately, our ‘awaam’ is so uneducated; a lot of them don’t realize how much good Musharraf did for the country. They will realize one day though, once the current gutless, uneducated, worthless, and so-called democratic leaders make life hell for the average citizen. May God bless Pakistan and may God protect Pervez Musharraf from the enemies of Islam and Pakistan; the Taliban.

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