Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nine Years of Entertainment

I'm going to leave the analysis of Musharraf's resignation to those better suited to that kind of thing (I'm still waiting for Ahsan to weigh in). But I would like to pay tribute to the man by reprinting a Newsline article (not available online) from a few months ago that collected the best Mush quotes. Feel free to add your favourite quotes in the comments.


For sheer entertainment value, the Musharraf era has been unrivalled in the country’s history. As Pakistan lurched from one crisis to the other, it could always rely on its fearless leader to pour forth some words of wisdom, be it a gratuitous insult or a prediction that had no chance of ever materialising. And if there was no one else left to blame, he could always take a pot shot at our Eastern neighbours. As Musharraf’s rule draws to a close, Newsline celebrates - and mocks - the man who kept us laughing through the war on terror, a judicial crisis and nine of years of military rule.

The Perfect Gentleman

On Iftikhar Chaudhry (February 17, 2008)

"The scum of the earth – a third-rate man – a corrupt man."
On ex-generals opposed to him (January 23, 2008)

They are insignificant personalities. Most of them are ones who served under me and I kicked them out ... They are insignificant. I am not even bothered by them."

On US troops (January 12, 2008)

“Our troops, who are the locals, who understand groups and customs, are very hardy. Our troops can go on roti and water. American troops would need chocolate.”

On human rights activists (November 14, 2007)

“You go and meet human rights activists. Ninety percent of them may have never cast their votes. They sleep on the day of elections.”

On NGOs (June 17, 2005)

“Westernized fringe elements.... as bad as the Islamic extremists.”

On rape victims (September 18, 2005)

"A lot of people say that if you want to go abroad and get a visa from Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped,"

On Ali Kuli (from In The Line of Fire)

“Yet instead of me, he selected Lieutenant General Ali Kuli Khan Khattak, who I felt was a mediocre officer.”

The Eternal Optimist

On the nature of his rule (February 17, 2008)

“It is not a dictatorship here! How can you reinstate judges if you become prime minister? How?”

On the emergency (November 14, 2007)

“I know what they [Pakistanis] feel about the emergency when all these suicide bombings were taking place. Their view is, Why have I done it so late.”

On Kargil (From In the Line of Fire)

“Considered purely in military terms, the Kargil operations were a landmark in the history of the Pakistani army."

On George W. Bush (May 16, 2001)

“Each and every individual Pakistani was in favour of his winning, each and every one. I don't think there could be a single Pakistani who was against him I would say. He enjoyed the support of every Pakistani.”

On Harkat-ul-Mujahideen fifteen months before it was declared a terrorist group by the US (June 25, 2000)

'These people are not terrorists. They are fighting a jihad.''

The Seer

On Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif(October 12, 2006)

“Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif will not participate in 2007 elections.”

On Benazir and Nawaz again(October 23, 2006)

“I am one hundred percent sure they would lose elections against me even if their votes were combined.”

On Altaf Hussain, a year before allying with him (May 16, 2001)

"I don't think he has any place in Pakistani politics.”

On religious extremists (May 16, 2001)

“There is not even 1% religious extremists. Ninety-nine per cent of Pakistanis are moderate.”

On nuclear weapons safety, three years before A.Q. Khan was caught (June 25, 2000)

“There is no question of nuclear material falling into the hands of irresponsible people at all.''

The Brotherly Neighbour

On the Indian military (April 15, 1999)

''We have developed Ghauri, which is a most effective missile and better than that of Agni. India has the ambition to reach the world, but we have the capability to reach India.''

On a plane hijacking situation (January 8, 2000)

“India had staged this drama to give Pakistan a bad name.''

On diplomacy with India (March 26, 2000)

'Indians are quite allergic to the word mediation, so the word mediation should be avoided,''

On offering earthquake aid (May 16, 2001)

After the [Indian] earthquake I said we must send aid immediately. A lot of people in Pakistan said we should not do that, I overruled them and said, "Let 's send them aid. It's a humanitarian gesture". But when we offered they said they did not need tents and blankets. Then another letter comes [saying] that "we don't need tents and blankets but we would like to have sniffing dogs". So I said, "OK, let them have sniffing dogs". We have a dog centre and we selected some dogs and we said we'd send them. Again the next day a message comes: "we don't want your sniffing dogs". I think they realised that maybe those dogs may be ISI representatives, and so I said, "OK, fine - let's not send them the dogs".


Ahsan said...

Reading these quotes, I was trying to rack my brain to see who Musharraf reminded me of. Then it dawned on me: Younis Khan.

1. Both are highly entertaining in their public pronouncements.

2. Neither is *especially* bright but got where they were through hard work and determination.

3. Both mean well but have made egregious mistakes because of their stubbornness.

Farooq said...

You forgot to mention that both are idolized by me.

Also, both look good in a suit.

What the hell was Younis Khan's egregious mistake? Turning down the captaincy? That certainly cant be termed a mistake.

Ahsan said...

Perhaps from his point of view it wasn't a mistake, but for Pakistan cricket, it definitely was. You *have* seen who his replacement was, right? Anyway, I have a bone to pick with Younis and had a post planned and everything, but as usual, things in Pakistan went haywire, distracting me.

Anonymous said...

"My name is Younus Khan. I tell people that everywhere, but they don’t listen."

Anonymous said...

Haha! I love the NGO quote.

And the 'Pakistani support' of Bush pre-2001 has some weight. There were many Pakistanis in the U.S. that voted for Bush the first time around.

Ahsan said...

I don't want to be an asshole or anything, but technically he was right on at least one count: neither Benazir Bhutto nor Nawaz Sharif participated in the elections.

Also, the pro-Bush quote pre 9/11 is very interesting. I'd never come across it before. The only thing I can think of is that it was some sort or rebuke/indirect swipe at Bill Clinton (for purportedly treating Pakistan with disrespect during his visit to the subcontinent just before he left office) by basically targeting Gore.

changinguppakistan said...

So I just found out that we all know Ahsan Rizvi...small world!

bubs said...

Ahsan: I found the link from where the quote was taken. It was from The Guardian. And yes he did take a swipe at Clinton.


Changinguppakistan: I have no idea who Ahsan Rizvi is but then I'm the outsider on this blog.

Also can someone explain the whole Younis Khan thing. I've never known him to say anything particularly outrageous.

Ahsan said...


That's crazy. Small world indeed.


You're right, he's not outrageous, but he is quite quirky and forthcoming in his interviews, never holding back, and never lacking a bit of comical wit. He's been known to say things like "every game is like a semi final just to get into the semi final" in a knockout tournament.

Omar said...

man i am sick of bubs writing. I am sorry to say that ever since you came around fiverupees has turned into a snide,cynical, negative and condescending bitch fest. It really isn't fun anymore because your sarcasm isn't particularly witty its just cesspool of negativity that not only brings down the entire attitude of the blog, which I have been following since it's inception, but also inspires the other bloggers to match you in needless sarcasm and whingefests. I'm not doubting your content. I just feel your not really contributing anything positive to this blog.

bubs said...

Omar: You may be right that I am snide, cynical, negative and condescending but I think it's really unfair to say that has affected the quality of the other bloggers. Ahsan posts quality stuff on a daily basis. As for the cesspool of negativity, I think that stems from the fact that I recognise and am very worked up by all that is wrong in Pakistan today but have absolutely no clue what can be done to fix it.

Ahsan said...


You are of course perfectly entitled to your viewpoint but I too am perfectly entitled to attack it.

First of all, I find it quite strange that you chose *this* post to register complaints against "Bubs' writing". Bubs wrote approximately 5% of this post; the rest is Newsline. I don't know if you think Newsline is caustic and sarcastic and mean and cynical, or if you even saw that this was simply Bubs reproducing something he had seen elsewhere.

Secondly, I don't really buy your argument that somehow Bubs has impacted our style of blogging. Five Rupees has been around for almost two years before Bubs came on board; I find it highly unlikely that *one* additional person can change in a matter of weeks and months the style and persona of *three* different bloggers who have been establishing their own individual styles for almost *two years*. As much as I like Bubs' blogging, I think you give him too much credit there. It's more likely that we were *always* slightly cynical and snide, and you seem to be noticing it more now.

Third, I strongly resent you characterizing our recent posts as "needless sarcasm and whingefests". In the last 10 days, there have been three posts on Musharraf and political developments in Pakistan (two by me, one by AKS) all of which were serious in tone. NB posted his thing on Sex Aunties Defence Boys, which may have been many things, but certainly not whiny or sarcastic. I posted a video of a PPP rally and an excerpt from an academic book. AKS posted on the Jamaat-e-Islami's culture of intolerance, again in a non-cynical, non-sarcastic, very serious tone. AKS also posited that Zulfi Jr. can kick Bilawal's ass in a fight, again a post which can be described with many words but not "sarcastic" or "whiny". Bubs plugged a friends book, again non-whiny and non-sarcastic. In fact, looking over our posts over the last two weeks or so, I'm struggling to find posts that *could* be characterized the way you describe them. The only ones I see are Bubs' Amir Taheri post and my Zardari-Nawaz-make-or-break post.

I'm sorry that you are enjoying our blog less now than you were. But your characterizations and assessments of the hows and whys of this change in taste are way off the mark.

Anonymous said...

I heart Bubs.

Desi Italiana said...


A year ago, when Musharraf really got on my nerves more than ever, I had tabbed about 15 interviews dating back to like 2000 in which he said the stupidest baqwaas. I was planning to do some massive cutting and pasting, but then I thought, "What's the rush? Surely he will come out with even dumber interviews.' So I let those links go.

But not this one from the Guardian:


Anonymous said...

hahahaha. this was amazing.