General (retired) Pervaiz Musharraf is scheduled to speak at University of Stanford on Friday, 16th January. This blog has since long been overwhelmingly against the actions and deeds of Mr. Musharraf starting from March 9th 2007 when he sacked the, then Chief Justice of Pakistan and more specifically after the imposition of Martial Law on November 3rd 2007, where he assumed himself to be above the laws of this land ie. the Constitution of Pakistan. All because Pervaiz Musharraf wanted to save his seat in power
I share with you
three four separate letters that were sent to the University of Stanford condemning their decision to invite and honor Pervaiz Musharraf as a guest speaker, to teach the younger generation how to aspire to be a dictator like him, is probably the last thing that University of Stanford should teach its students. I believe that Pervaiz Musharraf in his final year in power caused Pakistan far greater harm then anything imaginable, having deliberately allowed crooks back into the country he bid adieu leaving Pakistan with a snub and a smirk when he said “Pakistan Ka Khuda Hafiz“. After all it is then that he wished us the worst, which is evident by the crooks he welcomed home
I am a published author and historian from Pakistan. I guess when you chose our former President Musharraf as your Big Speaker you must have understood that you would be recieving some “hate mail”. I shall try not to make it sound like that, but you might be interested in learning that the announcement has taken away some credibility from Stanford in the minds of many educated Pakistanis, especially liberals.
You must be aware that the general impression in Pakistan is that military rulers in our country have usually been supported by American establishment, especially the Republican segments. Now many people are wondering if academic fora such as yours are not equally indifferent to democracy or, in fact, perhaps, just by some wierd chance, equally involved in curtailing democracy in whatever indirect, polite, socially-politically correct manner. Such as (s)electing an unpopular former President of Pakistan to be the Big Speaker.
As an academic who likes to look at things from several points of view I do not feel as much charged up about the thing as some others might be who would be writing you other kind of emails (I got your addresses off a rights acitivists group where it has been circulated to send you mass “protests”). I shall be curious to learn how the event goes, and will even relish, quite selfishly and unscupulously, in devouring any piece of “wisdom” that may, ironically or otherwise, unfold itself through that keynote address and gets circulated in the media. Yet, I do share the feelings and perspective described in the second paragraph of my email, and henceforth I may not be thinking about Stanford as a bastion of modern civilization anymore.
Pity ’tis, ’tis true, true ’tis, ’tis pity.
With warm regards,
Khurram Ali Shafique
I have come to hear about Stanford’s invitation to General Pervez Musharraf’s as the “Big Speaker” on January 16, 2009. While I understand that academic institutions are supposed to encourage dialogue and understanding, I would like to mention that by inviting, honoring and feting a military dictator who has overthrown an elected government, suspended and illegally amended the constitution, sacked the judiciary at will, and whose government has been involved in killing, kidnapping and illegally detaining Supreme Court and High Court judges, lawyers, journalists, political leaders, human right activists, students and teachers gives a certain legitimacy to him – and to his actions. And while this disturbs me as a person who believes in the rule of law and democracy it also gives an impression that Stanford University condones his actions – and is also impervious to the feelings of Pakistanis who have suffered under his dictatorship.
Therefore, I would request you to reconsider your invitation to General Musharaf. However, if you are unable to do that, then I would urge you to provide a disclaimer listing all his illegal and unconstitutional understakings in your introduction, just like Columbia University’s President gave when introducing President Ahmadinejad of Iran. This would not only clarify Stanford’s official position but also provide an appropriate context to the dialogue which can only lead to a more healthy and honest debate.
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Dear Mr. John Hennessy,
I am a citizen/resident of Pakistan and a lawyer by profession.
I have learnt that Stanford University has invited former dictator of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf as a ‘Big Speaker’. With deep regret I am constrained to say that, this is like adding insult to the many injuries which Musharraf has inflicted on the people of Pakistan.
I correctly remember that in November/December 2007 when the Pakistani lawyers and human rights activists were languishing in jails, the Supreme Court Bar Association of the U.S. praised the role of Pakistani lawyers and also said on an occasion that this is the real work of a lawyer i.e. to fight for supremacy of the constitution and to uphold of the rule of law. Ironically the president of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar at that time was a Stanford Alumnus. We felt honoured by the fact that lawyers in the U.S. held discussions and arranged walks to express solidarity with us. However, I fail to understand why a great educational institution like Stanford felt compelled to invite Musharraf as Big Speaker. Musharraf is directly responsible for:
- Getting 48 Pakistanis killed on the streets of Karachi on May 12, 2007 when the Chief Justice of Pakistan was scheduled to visit Karachi on an invitation by Sind High Court Bar Association, Karachi. On that day, containers of National Logistics Cell (a Pakistan Army controlled institution) were placed for blocking the roads which allowed the local mafia to kill innocent people, some of whom were injured and were pulled out of the ambulance and shot. On the same day, Musharraf held a rally in Islamabad which was attended by the entire bureaucracy (they were compelled to do that) and from behind a bullet proof glass placed on a pedestal 50 feet high he said “this is the show of people power“.
- Illegally imposing emergency in the country on November 3, 2007 as a cheif of the army staff, who has no right to take any such measure under the constitution.
- Sacking the superior judiciary of the country.
- Targetting, arresting and torutring lawyers and human rights activists.
- Introducing despotic legislations to allow corrupt politicians to prevail.
- Conducting state sponsored abductions of Pakistani citizens.
Sir, how would you feel if Timothy McVeigh were accorded a warm welcome by some university in Afghanistan?
In the name of those Pakistanis who were tortured, imprisoned, abducted, killed during Musharraf’s regime I request you to please withdraw your invitation to Musharraf who goes down in our history as any other self centered tyrant.
I would like to bring to your attention with all the passion inside my being how i feel about Stanford honoring Musharraf as a Big Speaker. I am a Pakistani and a truly patriotic one to the bone. I feel offended that a prestigious institution like Stanford would honor in any way or form a dictator, a tyrant, an oppressor who is responsible for illegal coup de tat and annihilation of a democratic government in my country.
Musharraf has commited every evil known to man and has destroyed all vital institutions in Pakistan. He has spread lawlessness, crime, an undesirable civil war, hunger and successfully brought the country to a brink of fatal collapse. He has harrassed and arrested most civil rights acivists in my country repeatedly during his tenure, kidnapped innocent citizens via intelligence agencies, squashed the media, ruin the judiciary. He has plunged the country into a vicious cycle of suicide bombs and despair. There are no words that can describe the evil, vindictive, illegal rule of Musharraf. To honor him any way will be an insult to all Pakistanis everywhere!!! This cannot be stressed enough.
How would you feel if an army general took over Washington and plinged your country into martial law!! I am sure you would not want a Pakistani University to award him with a great speaker award, no matter if he orates like Churchill!!