Monday, November 01, 2004

With friends like these

Published in Daily Times, Lahore on November 1,2004

Sir: I write in response to your editorial, “General Musharraf doesn’t need such advocates”, (Daily Times, October 31).

While Allama Komeli, during the senate debate, justified General Musharraf's holding two offices (that of president and chief of army staff) by referring to the examples of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and the first four caliphs, the federal parliamentary affairs minister, Dr Sher Afgan Niazi, has also drawn a parallel. He quotes the example of Oliver Cromwell in British history who, claimed Dr Naizi, was both head of state and military commander.

Had the minister read English history of that period, he would not have made this rather unflattering comparison. Cromwell was a ruthless dictator who ruled England as the ‘Lord Protector’ from 1649 to 1658. Sir Winston Churchill writes in A History of English-Speaking Peoples, “The consequences of Cromwell’s rule have distressed and at times distracted English politics even to the present day. To heal them baffled the skill and loyalties of successive generations. They became for a time a potent obstacle to the harmony of the English-speaking peoples throughout the world. Upon all of us there still lies the curse of Cromwell.”

If this is the standard of their defence, then you are right in saying that Musharraf, with friends such as these, does not need enemies.

Islamabad

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