Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 12-Nov-07
Tense Pakistani president Musharaff calls for elections by January 9

Web Log - November, 2007

Tense Pakistani president Musharaff calls for elections by January 9

After the embarassingly small turnout by Benazir Bhutto supporters on Friday, it's hard to see that there's any political leader around who could challenge the current President Pervez Musharraf. If that's true, it means that the country will be led by Musharraf, or will be displaced by a new army coup.

Tense and somber Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf at press conference on Sunday <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: CNN)</font>
Tense and somber Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf at press conference on Sunday (Source: CNN)

In Sunday's tense press conference, Musharraf announced the following:

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto called for anti-Musharraf protests and demonstrations on Friday. She was prepared to lead these demonstrations, but army forces prevented her from leaving her home in Rawalpindi (near the capital, Islamabad). Only a few hundred supporters showed up to take part in the demonstrations, far fewer than the tens of thousands that she had called for, and far, far fewer than the hundreds of thousands who cheered her return from exile at Karachi airport on October 18. (That was the day she was almost killed by a suicide bomber.)

Bhutto is defiantly calling for more anti-Musharraf protests and demonstrations starting on Monday. She's described those planned demonstrations as a "long march" (reminiscent of Mao Zedong's "long march" in 1934), traveling from Lahore to Islamabad.

There is nothing in all this that gives a picture of stability. It's possible that the upcoming election will lead to a resolution of problems, but things are moving quickly, and there are many factors that can upset the applecart.

In Sunday's tense press conference, Musharraf claimed again that the imposition of martial law was not for his political gain, but for the sake of the country, a claim that I find to be credible, for reasons I gave last week. He described the declaration of the state of emergency as "the most difficult decision I have ever taken in my life," and added the following: "I could have preserved myself, but then it would have damaged the nation. I found myself between a rock and a hard surface. I have no personal ego and ambitions to guard. I have the national interest foremost." He voiced anger over the "aspersions" cast on his commitment to fighting Taliban and al-Qaeda militants, and his commitment to democracy.

However, while many Pakistanis support the decision for martial law, as shown by the lack of support so far for Bhutto, many others are infuriated by it, including many who are sympathetic to the the Taliban and al-Qaeda. So the possibility of more violence, including terrorist attacks and suicide bombings, is real.

The Pakistani Provinces

In an attempt to get at least a basic understanding of what's going on in Pakistan, I've been studying the ethnic and geographic breakdown of the country.

Official map of Pakistan, with the addition of the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source:</font>
Official map of Pakistan, with the addition of the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) (Source:

The name "Pakistan" itself is a hybrid. It was formed in the 1930s from the name of the largest region, Balochistan, by removing the "Baloch" part, and replacing it with P for Punjab, A for Afghanistan, and K for Kashmir. A later interpretation of the name says that I is for Indus, S is for Sindh, and T is for Turkestan, leaving only the "AN" as the remains of the original name, Balochistan.

The official "correct" map of Pakistan, obtained from the Pakistan government web site, shows four major provinces. However, the story isn't complete unless you do something like what I did: I added the "FATA" regions in red. These regions, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, are tribal areas in a strip of land between Pakistan and Afghanistan. They're considered part of Pakistan, sort of, but they're self-governing and not under the control of Pakistan, although Pakistan does provide administrative services.

Now, the FATA regions are quite important, because that's where you'll find, for example, the tribal region of Waziristan, where Osama bin Laden is supposedly hiding out, along with his merry band of throat-slashers. That's also where the training camps for the international terrorist movement are located. The London subway bombers were trained in Waziristan. The FATA regions are heavily populated by Taliban and al-Qaeda supporters, and they've become terrorist havens out of reach of either the coalition forces in Afghanistan or the Pakistan army.

Now let's look at the four major provinces:

Musharraf himself claims to be without political affiliation, although he's worked closely with MQM since his successful 1999 coup.

Some Observations

Official map of Pakistan, with the addition of the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source:</font>
Official map of Pakistan, with the addition of the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) (Source:

The Pakistan crisis was touched upon in the Sunday morning television news talk shows, but it's pretty clear that almost none of the journalists and politicians giving opinions have bothered to learn even the minimal amount about Pakistan that I learned in a few days of research and study.

Sunday's Toronto Sun has a story about an 80-year old Pakistani-Canadian who, years ago, was a student fighting for independence of Pakistan:

"Witness to Pakistan's birth sides with Musharraf crackdown, by Don Peat

For one Pakistani-Canadian living in Mississauga the present emergency in his homeland brings back memories of the country's past turmoil-- the mass migrations and mass killings that grimly greeted Pakistani independence in 1947.

Hasan Akhter Beg, 80, describes his life as having seen the history of Pakistan unfold in front of his eyes.

The Mississauga resident was a university student in his late teens and living in eastern Punjab when he watched the British Raj dissolve into India and Pakistan and erupt into religious violence between Hindus and Muslims.

"We lost so many lives trying to make (Pakistan) a place we would want to live," Beg said.

He travelled from the east on foot to western Punjab, what would become Pakistan, and witnessed the fighting first-hand.

"I saw so many kidnappings and killings," Beg said. "Oh my God, you can't imagine, what miseries with my own eyes can't imagine."

To cope with all he saw he has written political poems about what he calls "the miseries of partition." Despite the chaos then, as now, life went on.

Beg was as a student worker in the independence movement. His job was to work for the election committee. He spent the next 40 years as a railway track engineer before coming to Canada in 1991.

Watching the current situation in Pakistan, Beg is troubled by the violence and unrest.

But, from the events he's seen, Beg feels that Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf is on the right track.

His experience during partition fuels that view.

"I always tell my sons that our priority is not democracy," he said. "Our survival, our existence must come first."

Beg says the army is the only way to guarantee that survival.

"People are divided here (in Canada) but the majority are with Musharraf," he said.

The judiciary was interfering too much with the path of the country, Beg believes, and so Musharraf is justified in trying to maintain order.

"There should be fair elections- no doubt," he said. "But we don't want corrupt leaders in our country."

As protests mount and uncertainty continues, Beg hopes the country he helped forge will survive.

"I feel the work they did (during independence) is preserved," Beg said. "I hopes it stays that way."

This is the point of view held by people who survived the Partition and resulting genocide. It's less often the position of someone who was born after Partition.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the result is inevitable. People in old generations die, and their wisdom dies with them. People in new generations are born, and they repeat the same forgotten mistakes that their forefathers made. A new genocidal war between India and Pakistan, between Muslims and Hindus, in the near future is 100% certain.

President Musharraf is under pressure from all sides, internally and externally. In his tense press conference on Sunday, he tried to "thread the needle" through policy decisions in a way that would keep everyone happy, without triggering an explosion.

In many ways, Pervez Musharraf is in the same boat as Ben Bernanke. Both of these men realize that they're on the precipice of disaster -- one in Pakistan, and one in global financial markets -- and both are trying to prevent a disaster. But the best that either of them can hope to do is postpone the disaster. Whether either or both of them will be able to do even that in the next few weeks remains to be seen. (12-Nov-07) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

Web Log Pages

Current Web Log

Web Log Summary - 2016
Web Log Summary - 2015
Web Log Summary - 2014
Web Log Summary - 2013
Web Log Summary - 2012
Web Log Summary - 2011
Web Log Summary - 2010
Web Log Summary - 2009
Web Log Summary - 2008
Web Log Summary - 2007
Web Log Summary - 2006
Web Log Summary - 2005
Web Log Summary - 2004

Web Log - December, 2016
Web Log - November, 2016
Web Log - October, 2016
Web Log - September, 2016
Web Log - August, 2016
Web Log - July, 2016
Web Log - June, 2016
Web Log - May, 2016
Web Log - April, 2016
Web Log - March, 2016
Web Log - February, 2016
Web Log - January, 2016
Web Log - December, 2015
Web Log - November, 2015
Web Log - October, 2015
Web Log - September, 2015
Web Log - August, 2015
Web Log - July, 2015
Web Log - June, 2015
Web Log - May, 2015
Web Log - April, 2015
Web Log - March, 2015
Web Log - February, 2015
Web Log - January, 2015
Web Log - December, 2014
Web Log - November, 2014
Web Log - October, 2014
Web Log - September, 2014
Web Log - August, 2014
Web Log - July, 2014
Web Log - June, 2014
Web Log - May, 2014
Web Log - April, 2014
Web Log - March, 2014
Web Log - February, 2014
Web Log - January, 2014
Web Log - December, 2013
Web Log - November, 2013
Web Log - October, 2013
Web Log - September, 2013
Web Log - August, 2013
Web Log - July, 2013
Web Log - June, 2013
Web Log - May, 2013
Web Log - April, 2013
Web Log - March, 2013
Web Log - February, 2013
Web Log - January, 2013
Web Log - December, 2012
Web Log - November, 2012
Web Log - October, 2012
Web Log - September, 2012
Web Log - August, 2012
Web Log - July, 2012
Web Log - June, 2012
Web Log - May, 2012
Web Log - April, 2012
Web Log - March, 2012
Web Log - February, 2012
Web Log - January, 2012
Web Log - December, 2011
Web Log - November, 2011
Web Log - October, 2011
Web Log - September, 2011
Web Log - August, 2011
Web Log - July, 2011
Web Log - June, 2011
Web Log - May, 2011
Web Log - April, 2011
Web Log - March, 2011
Web Log - February, 2011
Web Log - January, 2011
Web Log - December, 2010
Web Log - November, 2010
Web Log - October, 2010
Web Log - September, 2010
Web Log - August, 2010
Web Log - July, 2010
Web Log - June, 2010
Web Log - May, 2010
Web Log - April, 2010
Web Log - March, 2010
Web Log - February, 2010
Web Log - January, 2010
Web Log - December, 2009
Web Log - November, 2009
Web Log - October, 2009
Web Log - September, 2009
Web Log - August, 2009
Web Log - July, 2009
Web Log - June, 2009
Web Log - May, 2009
Web Log - April, 2009
Web Log - March, 2009
Web Log - February, 2009
Web Log - January, 2009
Web Log - December, 2008
Web Log - November, 2008
Web Log - October, 2008
Web Log - September, 2008
Web Log - August, 2008
Web Log - July, 2008
Web Log - June, 2008
Web Log - May, 2008
Web Log - April, 2008
Web Log - March, 2008
Web Log - February, 2008
Web Log - January, 2008
Web Log - December, 2007
Web Log - November, 2007
Web Log - October, 2007
Web Log - September, 2007
Web Log - August, 2007
Web Log - July, 2007
Web Log - June, 2007
Web Log - May, 2007
Web Log - April, 2007
Web Log - March, 2007
Web Log - February, 2007
Web Log - January, 2007
Web Log - December, 2006
Web Log - November, 2006
Web Log - October, 2006
Web Log - September, 2006
Web Log - August, 2006
Web Log - July, 2006
Web Log - June, 2006
Web Log - May, 2006
Web Log - April, 2006
Web Log - March, 2006
Web Log - February, 2006
Web Log - January, 2006
Web Log - December, 2005
Web Log - November, 2005
Web Log - October, 2005
Web Log - September, 2005
Web Log - August, 2005
Web Log - July, 2005
Web Log - June, 2005
Web Log - May, 2005
Web Log - April, 2005
Web Log - March, 2005
Web Log - February, 2005
Web Log - January, 2005
Web Log - December, 2004
Web Log - November, 2004
Web Log - October, 2004
Web Log - September, 2004
Web Log - August, 2004
Web Log - July, 2004
Web Log - June, 2004

Copyright © 2002-2016 by John J. Xenakis.