New Trend Magazine (

(P.O. Box 356, Kingsville, MD 21087)
(Send $1 for sample copy of printed version)

Pakistan's Inner Dynamic: A secular military dictator imposed on an Islamic nation by U.S. Interview with Syed Munawar Hasan, Secretary General of Jamaate Islami Pakistan

[BACKGROUND:Pakistani military coup leader, General Pervez Musharraf, is being used as a pawn by the U.S. and India to create a situation in which any help given by Pakistanis to the Kashmiri freedom struggle will be seen as "terrorism." Observers say that U.S. tactics are being crafted to strike a deadly blow at the Islamic struggle in Kashmir. Unfortunately Musharref is very unpopular in Pakistan and could be toppled. Hence part of the U.S-backed Indian military build-up on Pakistan's borders is motivated by plans to build up Musharref as DEFENDER OF PAKISTAN, somewhat in the same style in which Mustafa Kamal of Turkey became Ghazi and Ataturk. If only India does not get carried away and Musharref survives the border war, he will be touted as "military hero."- editor]

[Syed Munawar Hasan has been part of the Islamic movement for more than 40 years. His integrity is respected by both friends and enemies because he has shown that even in the quagmire of Pakistani politics, one can live a clean, humble and yet vibrant Islamic life. Through four decades of Islamic work, no one has ever been able to fault him for his for any weaknesses in honesty, integrity, courage and consistency.]

Question One from New Trend: Pervez Musharraf has successfully held a referendum (April 30) (in which he was the only candidate) and has proclaimed a victory with over 90% of the vote. What does this say for the future of Pakistan where an Islamic nation now has a secularizing leader who claims to have obtained a clear mandate from the people.

Syed Munawar Hasan: In the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful. Yes, Pervez Musharraf is claiming a ninety eight percent vote in his favor. This is the tradition of referenda in our country. Previously too the generals who carried out such exercises claimed similarly high results in their favor. However, this time the contradictions within the situation have brought the ‘cat out of the bag.' The Chief Election Commissioner has announced that 71% of the voters voted, and the numbers he has issued are that 43,000,000 people voted. To understand how inflated this figure is, compare it with the 1997 elections in which 20 political parties took part, including those of Benazir and Nawaz Sharif. They were frantic in their efforts and used all their efforts to transport supporters to the polling booths. It was a countrywide phenomenon, yet the total number of votes cast 22,000,000. Now in this referendum we are being told that 43,000,000 votes have been cast! Anyone who went to the polling booths for Musharref's referendum would know that these were lonely places. Till 5 pm hardly anyone had voted. Think about the possibilities of 43,000,000 people voting. If that had happened, there would have been long lines at the polling booths, there would have been traffic jams, there would have been people passing out in the streets owing to the heat while waiting to cast their votes. With those kinds of numbers there might have even been scuffles and fights as occur when vast numbers of people get involved. Instead what we had was total boycott of the referendum. Then after five pm, police units arrived and started taking over polling booths. In some cases they ordered the booth staff to cast the ballots with YES for Musharref. In many cases, the police took over the booths and cast all the ballots for Musharref. After the Election Commission (appointed by Musharref) announced that 71% of the vote had been cast, contradictory announcements were made by other governmental agencies. For instance Pakistan Television (PTV) announced that 56% of the vote had been cast. The public immediately noticed how the government was backtracking from the original 71% to the perhaps more palatable 56%. Falsehood is always various: one tells a lie and then has to embroider it to make it look more credible. Truth is always one, just like a straight line is one while slanted lines can be many. PTV was saying 56% while the Election Commissioner, being more loyal than the king, was saying 71%. IF 25% percent of the votes had been cast and the government agencies had inflated it to 50 or 60%, the public would have argued but would have lived with it, but with only 2 to 3% of the vote cast and the government claiming 71% (with almost all for Musharraf), the credibility of the referendum was sorely strained. Just about all news reporters up and down the country say that hardly any votes were cast. Large numbers of foreign observers were there too and saw the incredible failure of the referendum exercise. In every locality people could see that hardly any votes were cast. MUSHARREF's POSITION WAS ALREADY UNCONSTITUTIONAL, ILLEGAL, UNDEMOCRATIC AND ANTI-PEOPLE. Now it has also become IMMORAL. Musharref must have fallen in his own estimation too. The generals around him who were already advising him not to hold the referendum must be dismayed too. Actually Musharref has been inspired by America to carry on his program; however, as is well known, America is not a trustworthy friend. It has used Musharref and once it sees that Musharref has lost his credibility, it might find him no longer worth using. Already Benazir Bhutto is laying claim to be more loyal to America than Musharref and more secularist than Musharref. However, if a civilian ruler is implanted here, movement against such a regime will be easier because then the movement is not seen as going against the armed forces defending Pakistan. In any case, Musharref is going to face serious difficulties in the path he has chosen for himself now that the referendum has shown that support for him in Pakistan is negligible. (TO BE CONTINUED, inshallah)
[New Trend comment: The border conflict with India, if conducted carefully by India and the U.S. could help to increase Musharref's popularity. Thus the CIA-Zionist plotters are trying to kill two birds with one stone: Use the border conflict to put a total stop to Pakistani volunteers going over to Kashmir to help the freedom fighters and crush the freedom struggle PLUS bring forth Musharref as the SAVIOR of Pakistan who defied Indian threats. On the other hand, the U.S.-Indian strategy might backfire if India becomes more adventurous, sensing a "window of opportunity" and attack PAKISTAN PROPER. In that case the spirit of Jihad will unite Pakistanis, as in 1965, and an Islamic revolution could take place. One tactical victory for the Islamists is already taking place. Pakistan has started withdrawing troops from the Afghan border and transferring them to the Indian frontier. Thus Pakistani forces, if the withdrawal continues, will no longer be involved in the despicable and degrading task of stopping Islamists in Afghanistan being pursued by the U.S./U.K. from taking refuge in Pakistan.

2002-06-07 Fri 09:21ct