Fresh off his Supreme Court-enforced victory of Pakistan’s presidential election, President-elect Pervez Musharrif will appear without his army uniform this Wednesday. A source close to Musharraf, who chose to remain anonymous, confirms that the Pakistani President’s new look will be very tasteful and artistic, and that Musharraf has a final say in all media stories about this event.
“In the past, President Musharraf has been repeatedly approached by the Bush administration to take off his uniform, but given the recent arrests of thousands of political opponents and the emergency rule enacted, he felt the time was right and was very comfortable with his decision,” remarked his press secretary.
While the theme of rogue military dictators slipping out of their uniforms has always been a key demand of Musharraf’s political rivals, this act has its detractors. What upsets people like Imran Khan, who heads the Movement for Justice Party, is that “it used to be that military dictators were portrayed in their impressively full regalia. Now you get military dictators dressing every bit the democratically elected leader at the UN, even commanding attention in business casual attire on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. The result of it is coverage that is very damaging—that trivializes and marginalizes military dictators because it does not give them the respect they deserve as ruthless powerful men who harbor no moral compass.”
Still, other critics insist the Bush administration’s demand for Musharraf to lose his uniform is yet another adoption of corrupt Western caricatures of authoritarian rule.