Musharraf takes solace in ‘chal udja re panchhi’, but won’t fly away

August 20th, 2008 - 12:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Aug 20 (IANS) On his first day out of power, former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf heard his favourite Hindi song “Chal udja re panchhi, yeh desh hua diwana” (fly away bird, this country is no longer yours) but assured friends that he would not run away, writes a prominent Pakistani journalist. According to influential TV host Hamid Mir, Musharraf took solace in the old favourite by the late Indian crooner Mohammed Rafi from the 1950s film “Bhabhi” a day after he quit office on Monday - nine years after taking over in a bloodless coup.

“After enjoying the music he met a friend. ‘I am here. I will not run away. I am not a panchhi who will fly away from Pakistan,’ he told the friend,” Mir has written in the Daily Star.

Mir, who claims to have spoken to many of those who met the ex-president, said they told him that Musharraf was not quitting Pakistan.

The former dictator also ridiculed the idea that a woman could succeed him as president saying that the Islamists in the ruling coalition wouldn’t permit it.

According to Mir, Musharraf told a friend that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Asif Ali Zardari’s proposal was bound to be opposed by Maulana Fazlur Rahman, a prominent Islamist leader and key member of the ruling coalition.

Quoting “friends and well wishers” who called on him, Mir quoted Musharraf as commenting “smilingly”: “All these TV wallahs will be taught great lessons by Zardari and Nawaz Sharif soon.”

Giving an account of Musharraf’s “first day without power after nine years”, the Pakistani journalist said Musharraf was convinced that if he stayed on in Pakistan he would play a political role to arrest the chaos that was bound to prevail once leaders of the ruling coalition began fighting.

Musharraf told a friend that he had calculatedly not cancelled the National Reconciliation Ordinance and not reinstated Iftikar Mohammed Chaudhry as Supreme Court chief justice, who he had dismissed last November, because he wanted this to remain a bone of contention between the two leaders of the ruling coalition - Pakistan Peoples Party Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Nawaz Sharif.

Musharraf is quoted as telling a friend on Tuesday: “You know some PML-Q leaders advised me to cancel the National Reconciliation Ordinance and reinstate the deposed judges before resignation. They were sure that deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will become a big problem for Zardari.

“I decided not to do that. I know Zardari will not reinstate Justice Iftikhar and Nawaz Sharif will fight him on this issue and even if Iftikhar will get reinstated he will not spare Zardari, let the enemies fight with each other.”

Visitors congratulated him on the fact that while previous Pakistani dictators Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan had been forced to resign and Zia-ul Haq had died in an air crash, Musharraf had received a guard of honour on leaving the presidential palace.

Musharraf was apparently angry with some “ungrateful” people, among them the current chief justice of Pakistan whom he installed last November.

“Musharraf was happy with his ’safe exit’ but he shared his disappointment about some ‘ungrateful’ people who left him in the last days of his presidency. One of them was the sitting Chief Justice of Pakistan Abdul Hameed Dogar. He became Chief Justice on Nov 3, 2007 after the imposition of state of emergency by Musharraf. Dogar also validated the extra-constitutional acts of Musharraf after Nov 3.

“Musharraf contacted Dogar through a very prominent lawyer in the first week of August 2008. He wanted a stay order from the Supreme Court against the impeachment motion announced by the ruling coalition to oust him. Dogar regretted and disappointed Musharraf,” said Mir.

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