Batman Returns … to Pakistan

Former strongman Parvez Musharaf has announced his plans to return to the country he sold to his masters. In Bengali folk story it would be like Mir Jafar hoping for a warm welcome in his planned return to Bengal.


Musharaf has not yet understood muslim nature, especially of Afghans and Pathans. They may be naïve, wanting in”scholarly” credentials, but there is one thing which the world envies, that is their desire to defend their faith belief system against any internal or external attack.


Before the events of 9-11 Musharaf, like Gen Zia before him, placed his bets on Afghanistan being central to Pakistan’s strategic planning. Talibans were supposedly controlled, guided and armed by the notorious ISI. After 9-11 Talibans and Mujahidin became the new enemy of the west, especially America, which put Pakistan right in the middle of an armed confrontation. Afghanistan and Iraq later on promised a long drawn bloody fight that would tear the unified fabric of social harmony. Sectarian violence would be the lone and sad winner in this ugly battle.


Musharaf did what he had to do in as much as he was capable of doing. He changed his moral, ethical, logical and behavioral policies in the face of a threat of war. It is not an easy task to change one’s moral principles under pressure from another country. Changing principles under duress is the reserve of special few who can step over all moral and ethical blockages of the human mind.


In exchange for his treachery towards the Afghans Musharaf expected to be rewarded with billions of dollars in the form of debt relief, development funds, aid for purchase of arms and traditional loans for his government. This is in no way different from many middle eastern rulers’ policies for making peace with Israel. Musharaf did to Afghanistan what Sadat did to Palestine.


On the flip side, the stick for not dumping the Talibans, Pakistan would have been “bombed back to the stone ages”. Gen Musharaf did not need much coaching regarding morals and principles when it came to protecting his country from being bombed. National interest of his country stood supreme.

Whether that fundamental belief was either “with humanity” or “against humanity” did not get much publicity at that time.


Thus, for the sake of saving Paksitan he allowed foreign bases and logistic support to invade Afghanistan, and in the process made his country a permanent partner in the Afghan war.


If we learn something from history then its all about leaders who shaped the future of their nations to a higher status standing firm on a moral ground amongst the community of nations. Pakistan, like so many other muslim populated countries, is credited with having leaders who took Pakistan down gradually since its creation. From Jinnah the leadership effectively went to Gen Iskander, to Gen Ayub to Gen Yahya to Gen Zia and then to Gen Musharaf (Bhuttos and Sharifs in between).


Each one has been accused of being more morally bankrupt than the one before. Musharaf outdid all his predecessors by pitting Pakistanis against such a race which has never accepted humiliation at any cost, the Pathans. Betrayal is something completely alien to this warrior race doting the ranges of the Hindukush. Pathans in their death beds pass on names to their children to complete unfinished missions.


The Pakistani Taliban on Saturday threatened to assassinate former president Musharraf when he returns to the country to contest historic elections in May.
“We have prepared a special squad of suicide bombers for Musharraf,” Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan’s statements were disclosed on the internet news sites by some journalists.
Musharraf said he would definitely return home Sunday and that he was prepared to risk any danger to his life. “Two hundred percent! I am travelling back on Sunday to Pakistan,” he said.

“I will go by land, air or sea… even to the peril of my life this is the oath I took for the country.”

Batman during the days of colonial army was the official designation of locals attached to foreign soldiers. Cooking, cleaning, washing, boot polishing and horse-keeping were their prime responsibilities other than fighting beside the foreign soldier (human shield). After years of faithful service his master would proudly slap a badge of honor or a bronze medal on a Batman making him eternally grateful.

Colonial army quit India by the time Musharaf was enlisted in the army. Bit of a shame though because in the colonial Raj he might have been the most decorated Batman of his time.


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