In case of fire, head for the exit

…ideally, in a calm and dignified manner
Fire Exit

You don’t have to go beyond the oft-repeated cliche about Pervez Musharraf—that he is a commando, and doesn’t back down when he’s cornered—to grasp the limits of his political wisdom. Forget politics, this motto does not even make a lot of sense in a broader military context. That his advisers should refer to his commando credentials now, when the politicians have given him possibly the last chance for the most decent exit possible under the circumstances, brings home the enormity of his folly.

If it was a threat to deter Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif from going ahead with the plans to remove him, it is not too credible. General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani is unlikely to want to overtly wade into a political quagmire when he can wield power behind the scene. And if Mr Musharraf does intend to “fight back”, he will be seen the source of additional instability, and hence a liability that no one—neither the army nor the United States—can afford. This may cause him to be removed from the scene.

Messrs Zardari and Sharif have demanded that he seek a vote of confidence in the provincial and national assemblies, failing which impeachment proceedings will be initiated against him. They have not only given him room and time to head for the exit, but also—in their communique—refrained from criticising his foreign policy. What was left in catered to the domestic audience. What was left out should appeal to his personal friends in high places abroad. [Update: Those friends have started disowning him]

Related Posts: Finding a home for Mushie, Graceful exit wounds, the curious incident of the General in the night-time

2 thoughts on “In case of fire, head for the exit”

  1. Nitin: I suspect his chances are better than you’re allowing. Kayani may not want to go overtly political just yet, but the Army takes a PR body blow if Mush goes down in flames. As a result, Kayani and the Army won’t throw him under the bus. The current dispensation will be lucky to last through 2008 with the spiraling economic chaos and rising internal and external threats. He won’t back down – he’s going to first try simple dissension, failing which he’ll dissolve the houses for criminal negligence of the economy and terrorist threats.

  2. Mush is not so much ‘of the army’ as he was 8 years ago. This is exactly why everyone and their mother wanted him to give up the uniform. If he is not planning to bow out, he should also write a will.

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