September 29, 2006


by B. Raman

Like Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, Gen. Pervez Musharraf's Book of Lies "In the Line of Fire" is significant and worrisome not for what it contains, but for what it indicates about the sick mind of a self-obsessed individual, living in a make-believe world of his own creation.

2. Adolf Hitler convinced himself that he would be the saviour of the German people and of the world. Musharraf has convinced himself that he would be the saviour of the Pakistani people and of the world.

3. Critics of the book in Pakistan like Mr. Amir Mir have pointed out that Musharraf has deliberately chosen the title of his book after a 1993 Hollywood movie by the same name, which was about a lone secret service agent, who stood between life and death for the US President. Through the book, Musharraf has sought to convey a message to the US and the Western world: Me or the jihadi deluge---you have no third option.

4. Mr. Amir Mir wrote in the "Frontier Post" of September 22, 2006: "His critics believe that by borrowing the film title, In the Line of Fire, Musharraf wants to give a symbolic message to the Bush Administration that he is still the only trusted leader in Pakistan who can save the US from the wrath of Al Qaeda and the Taliban by foiling their evil designs. At the same time, he would like the White House to back him for his re-election as the President of Pakistan for a second term and that too in uniform."

5. Mr. Amir Mir says that the people of Pakistan perceive him as a "self-obsessed and power-hungry man, who would go to any extent to remain in power". He adds: "They say actions speak louder than words. In Musharraf's seven years of power, he has gone back on all the pledges he has ever made. The first thing he said after grabbing power was "I have no political ambition" and the last promise he made was "I will leave my uniform". He lived up to neither."

6. Hitler and Goebbels believed that you can fool all people for all time. According to them, what was important was not how credible your statement, but how credible your way of saying what you say. You could make the world accept even the most blatant falsehood if you knew how to utter it. Musharraf believes so too.

7. See the kind of falsehoods he has uttered in his book and during his promotional tour in West Europe and the US. I have already drawn attention to his falsehoods about the Kargil conflict in an earlier article on the book ("Musharraf: Throwing Dust in His Own Eyes"). Let me mention some others:

It was not Omar Sheikh, who butchered Daniel Pearl, the US journalist in the beginning of 2002.This is what Musharraf says now: "“The man who may have actually killed Pearl or at least participated in his butchery, we eventually discovered, was none other than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Al-Qaeda number three. Fazal Karim, a Pakistani activist from banned Sunni extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, who was arrested in May 2002 in another case, told police that he knew where Pearl was buried. Karim was asked how he knew. Chillingly he replied without remorse that he knew because he had actually participated in the slaughter by holding one of Pearl’s legs. But he did not know the person who actually slit Pearl’s throat. All he could say is that this person is Arab-looking.” If that was so, why Karim was not cited as an accused in the case relating to the kidnapping and slaughter of Pearl? Musharraf has remained silent on this. And nobody in the Western media has asked him this question. Mr. Rai Bashir, the defence lawyer of Omar Sheikh, has already given notice of his intention to cite Musharraf as a defence witness to show that Omar had nothing do with Pearl's slaughter. Even as Musharraf was promoting his latest version of the "truth" in the US, the London correspondent of the "News", a well-known daily of Pakistan, quoted (September 22) a spokesman of the British Foreign Office as saying that the Pakistani authorities had not agreed to a request by the British High Commission in Islamabad for a meeting with Omar Sheikh in jail. They have told the British that only the court before which Omar Sheikh's appeal against the death sentence awarded to him is pending could permit such a meeting. The British reportedly want to question him regarding any knowledge he may have had about the London blasts of July, 2005, and the recently thwarted plot to blow up US-bound planes.
The Pakistani military units posted in the Kahuta uranium enrichment plant could not detect the removal of entrifuges from the plant by A. Q. Khan, the nuclear scientist, for being sent to Iran and North Korea because their job was to protect the plant from external attacks and not the prevention of internal thefts. A. Q. Khan just put the centrifuges in his car and took them away, without his car being checked.
The "Daily Times" of Lahore reported as follows on September 26, 2006, on Musharraf's interview on the CBS the previous evening: "Gen Musharraf was closely questioned as to how the centrifuges that Dr Khan is charged with having supplied to North Korea and Iran could have been taken out of Pakistan’s highly-secured and military-guarded nuclear facilities undetected by the government or the army. He replied that the military was there to safeguard the facilities from outside attack. When the interviewer suggested that in that case the internal controls were a “little weak,” Gen Musharraf disagreed, asserting that they were not weak but “very strong”. He said the centrifuges, whose designs, parts and they themselves had been sent out, could easily have been placed in a car and moved out. When the interviewer wondered if 18 tonnes of equipment could have been thus removed without anyone noticing, Gen Musharraf replied that it could not have been done at one time. “It must have been transported many times” and thereafter put on a C-130 and flown out. All the C-130s in the country are owned and flown by the Pakistan Air Force, but this question was not put to the President. Asked if the reason nobody from outside had been allowed to talk to Dr Khan was the fear that he might incriminate the army, the President replied, “That is absolutely not the case,” adding that US President Bush and CIA’s George Tenet are “very satisfied and quite comfortable with whatever we have done”.
Musharraf has insinuated that there were some Indians working in the Dubai network of A. Q. Khan, who "disappeared" after the network was detected by the US and speculated that Pakistan's enrichment technology must have leaked to India through them. He has not named these so-called Indians in A. Q. Khan's Dubai network. Nor has he indicated why the detailed investigations made by the intelligence agencies of the US and other countries and by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of Vienna have not brought out any "disappeared" Indians. Buhary Seyed Abu Tahir, who headed A. Q. Kan's Dubai network and who set up a plant in Malaysia for the clandestine manufacture of new centrifuges at the instance of A. Q. Khan, was a Sri Lankan Muslim of Indian origin, who subsequently married a Malaysian and settled down in Malaysia. He has not disappeared. He was arrested and interrogated by the Malaysian Police. Why has he not said anything about the so-called "disappeared" Indians? Ever since the Indo-US deal for civil nuclear co-operation was signed in July last year, Ms. Shireen Mazari, the Pakistani analyst, who wrote a book on the Kargil conflict at the instance of Musharraf, has been spreading nuclear canards about India allegedly supplying nuclear technology to Iran, Iraq and other countries. The story of the so-called "disappeared" Indians was also her canard, which Musharraf has borrowed.
Among other blatant falsehoods uttered by Musharraf, some are related to the sanctuaries of the Taliban in Pakistani territory and his recent peace agreement with the tribal chiefs of North Waziristan at the instance of Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Taliban. After this agreement, the Pakistan Army has suspended all military operations against the remnants of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in that area. Musharraf tried to project this agreement as actually meant to help the NATO forces in countering the Taliban in Afghan territory. Nobody confronted him with an assessment reported to have been made by the US army units based in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan that since the conclusion of the cease-fire agreement in North Waziristan, the Taliban attacks on the NATO forces have increased three-fold.
8. The book is largely a figment of Musharraf's imagination and partly Ms. Mazari's pillow talk. But it is not without some truths. The most important truth is that the CIA paid the Government of Pakistan for every terror suspect captured and handed over to the CIA. These amounts were paid to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which used the money for helping the Neo Taliban, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and other jihadi terrorist organisations. Having realised the grave implications of his admitting this truth, Musharraf tried to wriggle out of this in an interview with the CNN. He is subsequently reported to have stated that these payments were made not to the Government of Pakistan, but to an agency, which has been helping in the hunt for the terrorists. He has not explained which agency.

9. If this agency is the ISI, how can he say that making payments to it did not amount to making payments to the Government of Pakistan? My police sources in Pakistan say that the CIA had been making payments to the ISI only and not to any other agency. Other sources in the tribal areas, however, say that with the CIA's encouragement a group of retired officers of the ISI and the CIA, who were involved in the operations against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s, have formed a private agency to help the CIA in its hunt for Osama bin Laden and his associates and some payments have also been going to this private agency.

10. These sources allege that the retired ISI officers in this private agency have been making money from the CIA as well as Al Qaeda--- from the CIA for collecting intelligence about Al Qaeda and from Al Qaeda for intelligence about the CIA. The serving and retired officers in the ISI have never had it so good and it would, therefore, be not in their interest for the US war against terrorism to come to an early end. There is no business today in Pakistan like the Al Qaeda Hunt business.

11. The other truth that has come out of Musharraf is that his own colleagues and batch-mates never thought that he would raise above the rank of a Lt. Col. Musharraf writes: "Having opted for the Army, while at the Pakistan Military Academy, I almost got thrown out for some disciplinary lapse. As a young Second Lieutenant, court-martial proceedings were initiated against me for yet another disciplinary violation. But war with India broke out just in time to block these proceedings. My subsequent war performance saved me from the court martial. As a young officer, my bluntness and indiscipline landed me in much serious trouble, with red ink entries piling up in my service record. In spite of my high professional performance on ground, my discipline record almost obstructed my promotion to the rank of Lt. Col. As a Brigadier on course at the Royal College of Defence Studies at London, my name was initially dropped from the list of recommended promotees to the rank of Maj. Gen. by the then Prime Minister (Mrs. Benazir Bhutto?) for some unknown reasons. My promotion as Army Chief is next only to a miracle, seen within all the seniority manipulations, negative propaganda against me and my character assassination."

12. Hitler was only a corporal in the German Army. The world saw what a damage even a corporal with a sick mind could cause to the world. Imagine what damage an ill-deserved General with an equally sick mind and with a propensity for compulsive lying like Hitler can cause.

13. There are two psychopaths on the loose today in Pakistan---Osama bin Laden and Musharraf. Both look upon themselves as the saviours of their people and the world. The war against terrorism has to be directed against both.

14. The world failed to take note of the sick mind behind Mein Kampf. Millions of people died as a result. A similar catastrophe awaits the world if it ignores the sick mind behind "In the Line of Fire".

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail:

September 25, 2006

All eyes on Musharraf's book

Royden D'Souza

Watch story

Monday, September 25, 2006 (New Delhi):

NDTV has special access to the advance manuscript of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's memoirs called In the Line of Fire, which will be released on Monday.

Last week, Musharraf had revealed how a former top US diplomat threatened to bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age if Islamabad did not support Washington's war on terror after 9/11.

But just what was happening in those crucial days is a bit clearer in Musharraf's book.

Falling in line

Musharraf writes that he was forced to look at his options, but found that he had none if he took on the United States.

Our military would be destroyed.
We had no oil and we did not have the capacity to sustain our economy in the face of a US attack.
Worst of all, we lack the homogeneity to galvanise the entire nation into an actively confrontationist stance.
Musharraf felt there was more to gain by falling in line with the US.

"We would be able to eliminate extremism from our society and flush out foreign terrorists in our midst. We had been victims of Taliban and al-Qaida and their associated groups for years."

Adverse reaction

But in reality the General was licking his wounded ego. He writes: "Needless to say I felt very frustrated by Armitage's remarks. It goes against the grain of a soldier not to be able to tell anyone giving him an ultimatum to go forth and multiply, or words to that effect."

President Musharraf writes about being hedged in at home while aligning with the US in 2001.

"The mullahs would certainly oppose joining the US. There would be an adverse reaction too in the NWFP. Sindh, Karachi and Balochistan would be lukewarm. The Punjabis would understand me."

9/11 attacks

Terming September 11, 2001 as the day that changed the world, Musharraf writes: "America was sure to react violently, like a wounded bear. If the perpetrator turned out to be al-Qaida, then that wounded bear would come charging straight towards us. Powell was quite candid: You are either with us or against us."

Musharraf also writes about how US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage warned Pakistan.

"In what was to be the most undiplomatic statement ever made, Armitage added, if we chose the terrorists then we should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age."

Al-Qaida suspects

In another startling revelation, President Musharraf in his book has apparently also said that CIA has secretly paid the Pakistan government millions of dollars for handing over hundreds of al-Qaida suspects to America.

The US government has strict rules banning such reward payments to foreign powers involved in the war on terror.

General Musharraf does not say how much the CIA gave in return for the 369 al-Qaida members that he ordered should be passed to the US.

India-Khan links

Musharraf made yet another claim that could make many in the Indian establishment very angry.

He has claimed that India's uranium enrichment programme has connections with Pakistan's rogue nuclear scientist Dr A Q Khan.

Musharraf has written in his memoirs:

In early 1999 I started seeing the first signs of some suspicious activities by Dr AQ Khan. I was concerned that Dr Khan might have been involved in illicit activities prior to March 2001, but I strongly believe that we have now ensured that he could not get away with anything more, and that once he was removed, the problem would stop. I was wrong.

Khan carried out secret nuclear transfers to Libya, Iran, North Korea and other countries.

In September 2003 CIA Director George Tenet showed Musharraf a detailed blueprint of Pakistan's P-1 centrifuge that had been seized from Khan's nuclear network.

Investigations revealed that AQ Khan had started his activities as far back as 1987 primarily with Iran. In 1994-95 Dr AQ Khan had ordered the manufacture of 200 P-1 centrifuges that had been discarded by Pakistan in the mid-80s.

These had been dispatched to Dubai for onward distribution. Dr Khan was running a very personalized underground network of technology transfers around the world with his base in Dubai.

The irony is that the Dubai-based network had employed several Indians, some of whom have since vanished.

There is strong probability that the genesis of the Indian uranium enrichment programme may also have its roots in the Dubai-based network and could be a copy of the Pakistani centrifuge design.

This has also been recently alluded to by an eminent US non-proliferation analyst.

The chapter on nuclear proliferation describes in detail how Khan built his nuclear proliferation network with bases in Dubai and Europe - from 1975 when he first offered his services to Pakistan till March 2001 when he retired as chairman of Khan Research Laboratories.

Accusations that India's nuclear programme was based on Pakistan's could very well have ramifications on the Indo-Pak peace process, if included in the published version of Musharraf's memoirs.

September 24, 2006

Pakistani graduate raped to punish her low-caste family

Dean Nelson, Delhi, and Ghulam Hasnain, Karachi

A YOUNG Pakistani woman has been kidnapped, raped and beaten by a gang of high-caste villagers because her uncle eloped with one of their relatives. She was chosen for punishment because she had recently gained a degree and was the pride of her low-caste family.
Ghazala Shaheen, 24, and her mother Mumtaz were abducted last month by men dressed in police uniforms from their home near Multan in southern Punjab.

Her shocking ordeal mirrors that of Mukhtaran Mai, 29, who became a symbol in the campaign for women’s rights in Pakistan after she was gang-raped because her 12-year-old brother had been seen with a higher-caste woman. Six men were found guilty but five later had their convictions overturned.

That case provoked an international outcry and led to moves to reform Pakistan’s Islamic rape and adultery laws which effectively criminalise rape victims.

Last week human rights campaigners said Shaheen was unlikely to see her attackers brought to justice because President Pervez Musharraf had failed in an attempt to repeal the Hudood Ordinance, which requires four male Muslim witnesses to support a rape charge. If the accused is acquitted, the victim becomes liable to prosecution for adultery.

While Musharraf was out of the country earlier this month, a committee of hardline Islamic scholars neutered his bill to protect women’s rights which would have repealed the Hudood Ordinance. The scholars claimed the bill was un-Islamic because it “encouraged adultery”.

Shaheen’s ordeal began last month when 11 armed men, believed to be security guards employed by one of Musharraf’s ministers, forced their way into her home, attacked her father and brothers and pulled her and her mother into the street.

“They said we were wanted by the police and dragged me and my mother outside. My shirt was torn off in the struggle,” she said last week.

“Outside, I saw about six or seven motorcycles. They put me on one and my mother on another. We were crying and shouting. They threatened to kill us if we kept shouting. They gagged our mouths with sheets. At one point my mother started resisting and she was beaten with guns.”

They were moved between isolated desert houses at first. As night fell on the third day, Shaheen’s mother was taken to another location and she was left alone with one of the gang members.

“This man sat next to me. A moment later he was on to me. He hit me with his gun on my back and on my body and raped me. I was crying and weeping. But he did not listen, and he repeated it,”
she said.

“In the morning, I was told to stand up and accompany this man. I was in pain. I could barely walk. Finally we reached a big house with Nazar Mirani (the gang leader) sitting outside. The man who had raped me told Nazar that he had done what he wanted with me and now it was his turn. They took me to a nearby cotton field and Nazar Mirani raped me.”

Shaheen said she knew Mirani’s name because he had filed a case against her uncle, accusing him of eloping with his wife. Mirani had previously threatened and harassed her father, a former soldier who runs a shop from their mud and brick home.

Mirani later told Shaheen he was taking her to Lahore to marry her so that she could not give evidence against him or his men. As the women were being driven from the house, they were stopped at a police roadblock and freed by officers Shaheen’s father had alerted.

According to her relatives, she had been selected as a kidnap target to maximise her family’s humiliation. She had been been the first in her family to gain a degree. This earned her a job as a local schoolteacher, but the offer was withdrawn after officials said they did not want to be associated with someone who had been raped.

Shaheen said she was determined to bring her kidnappers and rapists to justice. “My mission is to get all of them arrested and hanged, so they cannot do this to any other woman,” she said.

The prospects of a successful prosecution appear slim. Only Mirani has been arrested on kidnapping charges, and without the four essential witnesses a rape conviction is unlikely.

Rashid Rehman of Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission said that while hospital tests confirmed Shaheen had been raped, the examination was conducted too late to identify the rapists.

“Ghazala Shaheen has no chance of getting justice. The evidence has been destroyed. Doctors confirm she has been raped but she can’t prove that she has been raped by the suspects,” he said. There are hundreds of similar cases in southern Punjab every year, he added.