This is no time to invite General Musharraf to watch a cricket match
The war in Afghanistan caused the United States to make an ally out of the otherwise repugnant military dictator in Pakistan. India, caught up in its irrational habit of peace-process euphoria, was discussing confidence-building measures with Pakistan. Of course, this included playing cricket. The smiling general hopped across the border to watch the cricket match. And soon after, launched Operation Topaz — a proxy war that lead to more than a decade of terrorism in Kashmir.
That was in the late 1980s, and even before that war has come to an end, India started playing cricket with Pakistan. And again, the smiling General next door intends to hop over — all India has to do is ask (and keep the cameras rolling).
Musharraf knows that the Indian media is a powerful publicity tool and can give him much of the international credibility he craves, without having to give away anything substantial in return. Some good photo opportunities are all he needs to show the world what a good boy he really is.
As opposed to Musharraf, India has very little to gain from his appearance in the stands. Ordinarily, in such circumstances, a deal could be made if the beneficiary is agreeable to pay a price, in advance or in arrears. General Musharraf is’nt. More importantly, his ability to change his tune outstrips his ability to keep his promises, making his paper worthless. And then there is that ugly business of Kargil.
Past experience in handling Pakistan’s generals suggests that the best way to go about it is with a ten-foot pole. The cricket series is being organised as part of the process to encourage people-to-people contacts. As Pakistan’s army chief and president, Musharraf simply does not qualify.
Related Link: Secular-Right has some suggestions for Musharraf in case he wants to catch up on the score.