WASHINGTON: When Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s son Bilal recently clashed with Sufi-rock band Junoon’s guitarist Salman Ahmed in cyberspace, it wasn’t the first time Bilal Musharraf had jumped to his dad’s defence. Bilal Musharraf wrote a long article titled ”He had no choice” just two days after his father ousted Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup on October 12, 1999.
In the article posted on chowk.com, the doting son wrote: ”My father is a self made man and I wish to state this up front that he has made a conscious effort to never abuse his influence for personal gain.” Bilal wrote, ”I say this unabashedly and as a matter of knowing that he has a reputation of being thoroughly professional. My immediate family has made do with the income of a military officer and there have been no complaints. There is only relief that he has made it this far without compromising his ethics. Today, he is the Chief Executive of Pakistan.”
The US-educated Bilal also questioned the role of democratic ideals in Pakistan. ”Democracy is an essential ideal, but let’s look into our souls and understand why it has not taken root. The time has come for introspection for a fundamental change in state and society so democracy can actually blossom.”What are the options? Back to a facade of democracy in the existing political structure?” he asked in the article, which has had over a million hits so far. ”Allama Iqbal, what happened to his vision? Why don’t most Pakistanis understand his philosophy any longer? Jinnah Sahib, why did he burn himself out and leave such a bunch of self-serving individuals to govern behind him? How could we continue a state of misgovernance for 52 years?” he lamented.
”Time will reveal the sincerity of purpose of individuals in question and actions will speak louder than words. Pakistanis, wherever they are abroad, need to understand that this is a very unique point in Pakistan’s history,” he concluded. The chowk.com website described him as ”an actuarial analyst” who is ”an avid follower of South Asia’s socio-economic and geo-political reality”.
In his first article for the website in July 1999 titled ”Evaporation drops the temperature”, he talked about Pakistan’s working class ”who are not part of the ruling/owning class (but) have to bring about the much needed and much awaited long-term progressive change in Pakistan”.
”The overwhelming majority of people feel powerless in the scheme of things in Pakistan and in their desperation are blinded to reasoning and rationale and continue to project their ambitions on to individuals that have little to show from their past and fall short of such a responsibility,” he wrote.
He exhorted the ”working class of Pakistanis, inside and abroad to wake up and influence change!” and recommended they read ”’Leaders, Fools, and Imposters’ a respected book on the psycho-analysis of individuals in leadership positions. Bilal’s articles, not surprisingly, were hugely commented upon on the portal. ”Sounds like a PR hack for his father. I’m sure every despot and dictator is thought of greatly by his son,” wrote a Pakistani citizen settled abroad.
”Bilal! How’s your father going to pay the salaries of the military? The civilian government managed to give your father eight per cent of the GDP. Your dad can’t manage that any more,” ran another response to his article.-SANA