Media myth number one, that Pakistan is a functioning democracy ruled over by a President and a Parliament. Pakistan is ruled over by a military dictator that came to power at the point of a gun in a military coup. It has a rump duma that it calls a Parliament but the president’s party rules over it by counting bullets not ballots.
Any serious opposition to the military’s ruling General will be deliberated about from a prison cell.
A fact that Musharraf so recently proved by arresting opposition press and opposition politicians and replacing the judiciary all for their own protection of course. The thousands arrested in the dictator’s crack down were charged with anti state activity.
You see, in Mushariff’s vision of democracy any anti Musharraf protest is considered anti state activity. The American media soft-pedaled Musharraf’s reelection ignoring that he was elected by a majority vote of a rump Parliament while the opposition parties boycotted the election. For that’s as far as free protest, excuse me, anti state activity is allowed to go in democratic Pakistan, you may only legally protest by remaining silent.
Bhutto’s murder is yet another sad chapter of the Bush administrations failed foreign policy. During the summer criticism had arisen over Musharraf’s inability to reign in extremist factions in the tribal region outlands bordering Afghanistan. The US State department then orchestrated Bhutto’s return only after she made public statements that she would do more than Musharraf to fight the extremism. Saying that she would allow foreign forces to strike into the tribal homelands, something that Musharraf had flatly refused to allow.
The plan was simple; to introduce the popular Bhutto into the political mix and then there by force the unpopular and unelected dictator to do as he was told by his handlers in Washington.
Media myth number two, that Islamic extremism is rife in Pakistan. What is rife in Pakistan is the opposition to the dictator Musharraf with less than 30% of the population claiming to support his reign. With limited opportunity to protest, I mean to practice anti state activity in Pakistan, where else can the discontented gather and voice their discontent?
During dictator Musharraf’s martial law period who was protesting in the streets? Islamic extremists? Or lawyers, the middle class and University students? But to the American media myth makers its always best to devise good guys and the bad guys. Since Pakistan is an Islamic country it would be true enough to say that those protesting were in fact Muslims. But it is also just as true to say the majority of American troops in Iraq are Christians but few indeed believe that their faith plays any role in their posting. No American publication would dare to call the US invasion of Iraq an attack by Christian extremists.
Media myth number three, Muslim extremists wanted Bhutto dead. Muslim extremists didn’t like Bhutto to be sure but they don’t like Musharraf either, seeing them both as American lackeys. But Bhutto was a thorn in Musharraf’s side, killing Bhutto aides Musharraf far more than it aides Muslim extremists. Bhutto represented at least democratic change and the extremist would have had far more chance of advancing their agenda under Bhutto than under the military backed thug Musharraf.
Media myth number four, Bhutto was killed by a suicide bomber. Mrs. Bhutto according to her husband was killed by gunshot wounds to the chest and neck. The suicide bomber, or more likely a planted bomb, points to a military style professional ambush. Just as with America’s own assassination of President Kennedy, a cover story or a fall guy is essential to obscure that a murder with a long gun requires precision timing and military style logistics.
In Mrs. Bhutto’s own hand was written that if she were killed that it would be at Musharraf’s direction. Again the American media myth manufacturers discount this as complaints of a rival political camp. However, in November the Bhutto procession was attacked by bombs. Being denied jammers after one attempted bombing is tantamount to JFK riding in an open car in Dallas with no secret service protection riding on the back of the car. In both cases an appalling breach of protocol and common sense.
The November attack on Bhutto’s precession was preceded by the streetlights going out, again logistics and timing that points more toward government and military than to religious extremists. That religious extremists and extra governmental forces operate freely in the tribal homelands it is true enough but Rawalipindi is a military garrison town. Hardly a good location for Islamic extremists to attempt to operate an assassination plot.
Yet no suspects have been arrested or rifles found.
Media myth number five, dictator Musharraf had accepted Mrs. Bhutto and was willing to work with her in a coalition style government. Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth. Mrs. Bhutto’s return was orchestrated by the US State department and Mushariff was pressured to accept it. Just as Musharraf was pressured to crack down on the tribal areas and pressured to take off his uniform. The man is a dictator, he does nothing that he doesn’t want to do without being pressured to do so. And eleven billion US dollars is pressuring enough.
Now add to that mix an erstwhile US backed possible replacement. A popular populist harkening back to true democratic days. So what then is a dictator to do? Dictators by their very nature respond poorly to competition, especially competition foisted on them by outsiders. So what would be the logical solution to a gun toting general who came to power with bullets when confronted by a single populist leader foisted upon him by a foreign power seeking to manipulate him.
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