bq. “Let me assure you that President Bush never talks about when are you taking your uniform off,” Musharraf said before offering an energetic defense of his democratic credentials.
While Musharraf it not even close to Bush when it comes to putting his foot in the mouth, in this press conference in New York he aptly demonstrated the fine art of putting one’s foot in one’s mouth, eating it, and repeating the process with the other foot. Oh, and the above is certainly true – Bush certainly wouldn’t ask Musharraf such a delicate question, after all it would infringe on his god given right to rule. The US State department might have an issue with this statement, but luckily for Mush, it’s run by Condi Rice, who’s not big on this democracy talk. (She works for Bush, after all).
Read on for the -Bushisms- Musharafissims:
bq.. Musharraf said he had “totally turned around Pakistan” and had made key advances in fostering democracy, including protecting freedom of the press, empowering local government, improving the position of women in society and giving greater representation to minorities.
“Leave the developing world aside; I think *we are better than all of them,”* Musharraf declared. “Bring the developed world and let us compare Pakistan’s record, under me, a uniformed man, with many of the developed countries. I challenge that we will be better off.”
>> ‘Washington Post’:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/12/AR2005091201724.html, ‘Daily Times’:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_14-9-2005_pg1_1
p. I wonder what sort of data points he is thinking of when he makes statements like these. This months issue of one of the leading Pakistani news magazines, the Herald, has a story about 2 Swedish and one British journalist who were illegally arrested in Peshawar, held in jail cells complete with torture equipment (though they weren’t tortured) for 17 days and interrogated repeatedly – and then deported to Norway. They were not allowed to contact their embassies – concerned friends got worried, flew to Islamabad, and finally got them released. These were foriegn journalists – they get far, far better treatment than Pakistanis.
His concern really shows here:
bq. “You must understand the environment in Pakistan,” Musharraf added. “This has become a moneymaking concern. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.”
>> ‘Washington Post’:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/12/AR2005091201724.html
Musharraf also said he has no regrets about his handling of the ‘Mukhtar Mai’:http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/pakistan/2004_10/mukhtaran_bibi_sentenced_to_be_raped.html case. The scary part is that he actually means it.
The ‘Human Rights Commission Pakistan’:http://www.hrcp-web.org/ sent him a letter:
bq. LAHORE: Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Asma Jahangir sent an open letter to President Pervez Musharraf on Thursday *severely criticising his government’s policies and alleged inaction on women’s rights.*
>> ‘Daily Times: HRCP writes to Musharraf on women’:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_9-9-2005_pg7_45
The letter points out that Musharraf has not repealed laws, like the Hudood Ordinance, which discriminates against women. Under the Hudood ordinance, a woman must have four ‘pious’ male witnesses to prove rape, or face a charge of adultery herself. Punishment for adultery is stoning to death, or a 100 lashes. Oh, and if the witnesses aren’t ‘pious’, male *and* muslim, they can’t testify. Of course, this has nothing to do with why Pakistani has such a low number of reported rape cases.
Like past governments, Musharraf set up a committee to ‘investigate’ these laws, and like anyone could have told in in a second flat, after many months, conferences, trips abroad, 5 star hotels and experts and chefs flown in, all the committees recommended doing away with the laws. So here we have a dictator, all powerfull and what not, shooting his mouth off at every opportunity about his wonderfull womens rights record, while the same old shit goes on. In his defence, he has talked and talked and talked about women’s rights, and called for ‘critical thinking’ on the Hudood laws. After all, he’s only been in power for a few years, in a decade or two once he’s through with his critical thinking he might just decide that a law which puts rape victims in jail and then stones them to death (if not acquited) is not very women friendly. Perish the thought, to speed up the critical thinking process he could even ask one of those western leaders he keeps getting photographed with.
Musharraf keeps saying over and over again that changing the laws won’t solve the problems, one must also change the mindset of the poeple. Obviously, since laws don’t apply to him, he can’t understand how changing the laws might have some effect on those which have to live under them…
There’s also the blasphemy law, according to which a person *accused* of speaking or acting against Islam can be sentenced to death. The operative word here is ‘accused’ – proof is optional. Section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code imposes the death penalty on anyone found to have “by words . . . or visible representation . . . or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiled the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.” Minorities just love this law.
*Update:* Musharraf denied making ‘remarks about women using rape as a means of making money and getting out of pakistan’:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_18-9-2005_pg1_1.
However, the foreign press doesn’t roll over so easy:
bq.. …But Glenn Kessler, co-author of the Washington Post article, told the BBC News website: “The president’s comments were tape recorded and they were quoted verbatim and in context.”
“The article did not try to sensationalise the quotes and in fact they were not the main focus of the article,” he said.
>> ‘BBC News’:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4256218.stm
p. The Canadian Prime Minister Prime Minister Paul Martin saw red, and breaking diplomatic norms, ‘publicly lashed out at Musharraf’:http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Canada/2005/09/16/1219780-sun.html for dragging the good name of Canada into this whole sordid affair.
Musharraf then went on to further drag himself through some mud at a press conference with a number of NGO’s and human rights activists: “Dawn: Opponents are enemies of country: Musharraf”:http://www.dawn.com/2005/09/18/top8.htm
h4. Lies, lies and damned sincere lies:
‘Musharraf Denies Rape Comments:’:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/18/AR2005091800554.html
bq.. “Let me say with total sincerity that I never said that, and it has been misquoted,” Musharraf told the women’s group. “These are not my words, and I would go to the extent of saying I am not so silly and stupid to make comments of this sort.”
p. The Washington Post: Recording Shows Post Article Correctly Quoted Pakistani President
bq.. The interview was conducted by three Washington Post reporters and was tape-recorded. A review of the recording yesterday confirmed that Musharraf — who was surrounded by aides who took notes and also recorded the interview — was accurately quoted.
* ‘Google blog search for Musharraf+rape’:http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&q=Musharraf+rape&scoring=d
* ” The Glasshouse on Musharraf loosing his marbles”:http://politicalpakistan.blogspot.com/2005/09/musharraf-ive-lost-my-marbles_20.html
* ‘Gen Musharrafs Lies’:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/30/AR2005093001536.html