Friday, July 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India



General Musharraf used media for propaganda

Apropos the editorials by Mr Hari Jaisingh “When silence is not golden!” (July 19) and “Terrorism is the real issue, Gen Musharraf” (July 22), General Musharraf may not yet be in touch with nuances and the fine art of diplomacy and statesmanship, but it certainly must be said of him, even by his severest of opponents, that what the man lacks in these areas, he more than vainly tries to compensate through his spirit, drive and single-minded obsession. He manages to convey without much effort that he is extremely and enviably focused in his approach.

Also remarkable is the point that he is not lacking in the understanding of the power of propaganda, especially through the electronic media. His recently concluded press conference in his own country, as also the one in Agra he had with our media for breakfast, bear ample testimony to the fact that this man is indeed a wily coyote. To me he appears to be playing not only up to his own people, but especially to the international audience simultaneously.

There are people who work with both hands, and there are those who just beat drums with both hands; the most successful, however, are those who work with one hand and beat the drum with the other. In contrast to General Musharraf, who seems to realise the importance of the media and propaganda thoroughly, their purpose and desirability seem completely lost on our own leadership.



Media role:
The Indian media has become market savvy. Due to dearth of news from the Indian delegation, the local media cleverly eyed the General to fill the gaps. The General not only took the bait but also was much too eager to oblige. Everyone knows what the General said during the summit but no one really knows what the Indian Prime Minister said!

Now, the General’s coziness with the media is being blamed for the collapse of the talks.

And for the General, the Agra summit will eventually emerge as Kargil II... a poorly executed operation that had a brilliant opening but a demanding exit.

KAMAL YAAR, San Francisco

His days numbered: General Musharraf is facing a serious right-wing challenge from his own colleagues from within the establishment. One of the most potent ones is from the combination of Lieut-Gen Mohammed Aziz, the Corps Commander of IV Corp or the Lahore Corps, and his Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar. This is a combination, which comprises possibly the next Army Chief, considering that he was the Chief of the General Staff before he was relegated to the Lahore Corps; and the civilian facade in the form of Abdul Sattar. This is the combination, which would be most acceptable to the Punjabi clique as well as the western democracies led by the USA. With China already supporting Pakistan and now with the former coming together with Russia, there is every chance of Pakistan feeling resurrected.

This is the combination, which will also find support from the fundamentalist jehadi organisations like Markaz-Dawa-Wal-Irshad, the protege of Ahle Hadis and Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan with its protege Hizbul Mujahideen. Thus, Musharraf could well have his days numbered, unless he does some very close tight-rope walking.

For India, no matter which way the dice roll, the going is going to be tough. To a very large degree it is its own doing. It has failed to take the battle into the Pakistani camp. While accepting that Jammu and Kashmir is one of the core issues, India must question the authenticity of Pakistan’s position on the issue. That Pakistan has been and still is an aggressor, and only an aggressor, has to be driven home to the people in India, Pakistan and the world.


Not a diplomat: During the summit, Musharraf’s postures were of a chief of armed forces and not of a diplomat. By this, of Benazir Bhutto said, he proved to be anything but diplomat. By changing his clothes now and then just as a newly-wed couple on their honeymoon also showed his immaturity unworthy of a Head of State. Begum Sehba Musharraf was quite sober in this context.

Dr N. K. RANA, Panchkula

The salute controversy

A lot has been made in the Press, praising Air Chief Anil Tipnis for not saluting General Musharraf. As they put it, this was tit for tat for Musharraf not being present at the reception given to our PM on his goodwill visit to Lahore.

What one forgets is that, at the reception in Delhi for Musharraf, the President of India, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces, was also present to give respect to General Musharraf as Head of State. Thus, the Air Chief’s demeanour, no matter how much he hated the guts of Musharraf, was not so much an insult to Musharraf, but to his Supreme Commander, the President.

Military protocol demands that the correct gesture of goodwill, to anyone, is a salute, and not just a handshake, unless of course, Tipnis had been ordered by his President not to do so.

In the now famous film “Bridge on the River Kwai”, the British Commander entering the Japanese PoW camp with his troops, halted them, and went and saluted his most hated enemy commander. Nobody viewed this as a degradation for him to have done so.

Brig N. B. GRANT, Pune



Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |