Washington approves Musharraf’s promotion

A newly-minted marshal in the field

Come October Pakistan is likely to see General Musharraf promote himself to Field Marshal, reports News Insight, a well-informed online publication. It also reports that the United States has approved this move.

While remaining army chief thus far, beyond the retirement age, was blocking hundreds of promotions down the ranks, as field marshal, Musharraf will clear the way, but by snatching the powers of any appointed army chief and the nine corps commanders, diplomats say he will wreck the command and control structure, and close to 360 senior officers are expected to be affected. [News Insight]

A few months ago, columnist Ardeshir Cowasjee had recommended Musharraf take this title instead of the grander alternative – King!

However, it has been pointed out by Pakistanis still mindful of constitutional niceties that elevation to the rank of Field Marshal may make Musharraf ineligible to hold either of the two offices that he is determined to stick on to. While becoming a monarch may solve this particular problem, strict observers of Islam (and there are many in Pakistan) would oppose any human being taking on the title of King. Frivolous as this may sound, Pakistani grandees have been discussing these conundrums for some time now.