The Sun Sets on a Dog Day by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam (AUGUST 20, 2008)

Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam on the developments in neighbouring Pakistan

As August brings down temperature in the sub-continent, it seems Pakistan's dog days are drawing to a close. That country, plagued by military dictatorship for more than half of its independent existence, may be allowed to heave a sigh of relief as President Pervez Musharraf, accused of throttling democracy, sacking judges and leasing Pakistan out to the United States, has finally left.

Interestingly, the democracy loving US has always preferred to back military dictators and suppress democracy in Pakistan. It is a long line of tyrants that have ravaged Pakistan over the last several decades: General Iskander Mirza, General Ayyub Khan, General Yahya Khan, General Ziaul Haq, General Pervez Musharraf… We are putting an ellipsis, not a full stop to it, advisedly.

Mr. Musharraf has turned out to be a good attack dog of Uncle Sam, and a proportionately lousy leader of Pakistan. Quite obviously, there is an inverse proportion working here: the better attack dog that you are of a foreign power, the worse ruler you would be for your own people. As Mr. Musharraf was not elected by Pakistan's people to replace Mr. Nawaz Sharif (and later, the inept president himself), he was not answerable to the people, but the United States only.

The Bush-Mush alliance worked only till the time the General had the prowess and killing power of an attack dog. As his hunting capabilities began to decline (every dog's physical powers decline over the years) his canine failed to tear into the victim's flesh and his jaws failed to crush human bones, the master knew his usefulness was gone. As usual the master lost interest in protecting him.

Now Mr Musharraf has been kicked out of the presidential palace. America is watching him go like the Shah of Iran was watched going. Like the Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos was watched going. These two were America's luckier stooges as they were given personal protection as well as the protection of their families by the United States. Others like Saddam Hussein (who was a stooge in his early years) President Manuel Noreiga (of Panama) and the South Vietnamese president who was eliminated before President Kennedy's assassination, were not lucky enough.

Mr Musharraf may end up among the luckier stooges as the US and UK put pressure on Pakistan government not to impeach Mr Musharraf and allow him safe passage to Turkey. Well, whichever way it ends, Pakistan's dog days are seemingly over. At least till another man in uniform comes in and sacks a lawfully elected government. The famous English saying goes, "Every dog has his day". Mr Musharraf, too, had his rather long day. Now the sun has set on that dog day.


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