Monday, September 10, 2007

Pakistan: Politics and planes

He flew, he landed...and he got deported.

For sure the shortest, but not the best comeback for Pakistan's ex-PM Nawaz Sharif (Well, compared to Benigno Aquino, an opposition leader from the Philippines, Mr. Sharif got away pretty easily. Remember? Mr. Aquino was shot and killed right outside his plane, after he returned in 1983 from exile).

But why is president Musharraf so tough on Mr. Sharif? I mean, Mr Sharif is about Pakistan's dullest politician. Still, there are enough reasons.

First, Mr. Sharif had promised, in 2000, to stay in exile in Saudi Arabia for ten years. Second, he was told by a Pakistani judge to give up politics. Third, the political party supporting Musharraf, the PML-Q, derives from Mr Sharif's party, the PML (Pakistan Muslim League). And fourth, not unimportant, Mr Sharif tried to get Musharraf (and 200 others) killed in 1999.

This last point is the most important reason behind Mr. Musharrafs utter dislike for Nawaz Sharif.

Let's go back to 1999. In that year PM Sharif fired Mr. Musharraf, who was at that time the army chief of Pakistan. Musharraf was on a visit to Sri Lanka when he heard he got fired. Immediately after, an angry Musharraf boarded a commercial airliner and tried to get back to Pakistan. Just before the pilot of the plane carrying Musharraf (and 200 others - mainly tourists, workers and Pakistanis living in Sri Lanka) tried to land at Karachi airport, he was told by traffic control that the plane did not have permission to land. Earlier, traffic control received an order from PM Sharif not to allow Musharraf to set foot on Pakistani soil.

As it goes with planes, you only have fuel for a certain distance. So the pilot tried to go for another airstrip in the area. But again: No permission to land. By now rather desperate, the pilot tried to land at Karachi airport. But again, the control tower did not give permission. Only after troops loyal to Pervez Musharraf stormed the airport, the plane could touch down. The fuel level was so low, that the plane could have stayed only another seven minutes in the air. Sharif was immediately arrested and Musharraf staged his, bloodless, coup.

Read the details of this fascinating story here.

Pakistan Army song:

And because if was such an amazing event - The killing of Beningo Aquino:

Harald Doornbos

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

amazing footage about aquino. and did you realise that the philippinos draw their word for nationalism from the old collonial language spanish?