ATP Poll: Grading Gen. Musharraf – A Performance Review

Posted on September 19, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Poll, People, Politics
Total Views: 13708


Adil Najam


With Gen. Pervez Musharraf visiting the United States to address the UN General Assembly and launch his autobiography, In the Line of Fire, (see ATP post here) those of us living in USA are bound hear and see more of him on the media that we normally do.

Seems like an appropriate time for an ATP Poll. Previous ATP Polls have sought our readers views on women’s rights and Pakistan’s image (here), on what Gen. Musharraf should do about his future (here), and on which of Pakistan’s past leaders did the most ‘good’ for the country (here). This time we want you, our readers, to do a performance review of Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s years in power. How would you grade Gen. Musharraf’s performance in four key areas: (a) domestic politics, (b) economy and development, (c) governance and reform, and (d) foreign affairs?

In each of these four areas, you can give General Sahib a grade; ranging from the highest at A+ to the lowest at F. Following standard practice in academic grading, an A signifies ‘excellent’ performance, a B signifies ‘Good’, a C signifies ‘average’, a D signifies ‘Poor’, and an F is failing grade. Simply fill in the grades in the form below or click here to take the survey:

The intended focus of the poll is on Gen. Musharraf’s actual performance. We would love to base your assessment on what he has actually achieved, or not, in the context of the goals he and others had set for him in each of these areas. The four areas are broad, but hopefully they are conceptually cohesive. The first three encapsulate all the elements of the 7-point agenda that Gen. Musharraf has set for himself (see here):

1. Rebuild National confidence and morale.
2. Strengthen Federation, remove Inter-Provincial disharmony and restore National cohesion… through devolution of power, from the Centre to the Provinces and from the Provincial to the local governments as actually enshrined in the Constitution.
3. Devolution of power to the grass root level.
4. Revive Economy and restore Investor confidence… through stability and consistency in economic policies and economic security.
5. Ensure law and order and dispense speedy justice… improving the qualities of law enforcement agencies.
6. Depoliticize State institutions.
7. Ensure swift and across the board accountability… The process of accountability is being directed at those guilty of plundering and looting the National wealth, tax evaders [...and...] loan defaulters. The process of accountability will be transparent for the public to see.

It seems to me that the first point arrives from a sum of all four of our categories. Point 4 is clearly about our ‘Economy and Development’ category. Points 2 and 3 are generally included in what we are calling ‘Domestic Politics’. And Points 5, 6 and 7 are relate closely to our category of ‘Governance and Reform.’ I felt that having a separate point of foreign affairs was important given the events of the last many years and Pakistan’s role in them. You are, of course, free to comprehend the four categories as you deem best.

A request to our readers. I have put in some effort into selecting four separate categories for assessment (moreover, I have gone through many technical hoops to get the poll to accept multiple questions). I hope you will all take the time to evaluate his performance in each category on its own merit and do so as objectively as possible.

At one level, it does not matter much; after all, this is just a silly little poll whose only real utility is our own intellectual stimulation. On the other hand, I worry about a tendency amongst some to gravitate towards extremes, to view things as entirely black or entirely white (the ‘with us or against us’ mentality), to label things as either entirely good or as entirely evil, and to viciously attack any and all who disagree. I fear that the temptation will be too great amongst Musharraf’s supporters to put all A+’s and for his detractors to put in all F’s. If you honestly believe that to be the true assessment in each category, please do so. But I hope you will not do so simply for the sake of wanting to ‘force’ one particular result or the other.

If you do want to influence the results, please, by all means ask your friends to also vote. Voting is anonymous; as it should be. This is, of course, not be a very scientific poll, but it will at least give us a sense of what this community � the ATP cohort � thinks. Do vote, but please vote only once (even if you are smart enough to beat the system somehow). This poll is now closed.

34 Comments on “ATP Poll: Grading Gen. Musharraf – A Performance Review”

  1. September 19th, 2006 1:35 am

    Dear readers,
    May I urge you to please read the two paragraphs towards the end of this post:

    A request to our readers. I have put in some effort into selecting four separate categories for assessment (moreover, I have gone through many technical hoops to get the poll to accept multiple questions). I hope you will all take the time to evaluate his performance in each category on its own merit and do so as objectively as possible.

    At one level, it does not matter much; after all, this is just a silly little poll whose only real utility is our own intellectual stimulation. On the other hand, I worry about a tendency amongst some to gravitate towards extremes, to view things as entirely black or entirely white (the ‘with us or against us’ mentality), to label things as either entirely good or as entirely evil, and to viciously attack any and all who disagree. I fear that the temptation will be too great amongst Musharraf’s supporters to put all A ‘s and for his detractors to put in all F’s. If you honestly believe that to be the true assessment in each category, please do so. But I hope you will not do so simply for the sake of wanting to ‘force’ one particular result or the other.

    I certainly do not wish to influence anyone’s voting, but it is rather interesting that the FIRST THREE responses to this poll that were recorded were ALL ‘A+’ and ALL ‘F’ (two in one of these categories and one in the other). Maybe the respondents did think carefully about the question in each of the four category and this was their reasoned assessment. If so, then very good. Or, maybe, just maybe, they were in a hurry and just gravitated to the extreme as I had feared in the post. I hope it is not the latter. Luckily, the next four responses seem to have invested more thought into their responses. I think them for the effort and having taken the time.

    P.S. I do NOT have access to information on who is voting how. I do have access to voting statistics, including combinations within individual votes.

  2. PatExpat says:
    September 19th, 2006 1:35 am

    Oh boy! I just can’t wait for the comments to start pouring in and see the various twists and turns in the arguments put forth. Musharraf is a real crowd puller. Cheers!

  3. Daktar says:
    September 19th, 2006 1:59 am

    Prof. Najam, this is a very timely and interesting poll. I like the idea of grading rather than just saying good or bad. On your message, I hope people will put effort into four categories seperately. I am greatly looking forward to the results to see what ATPers think. It will be a pity if all we get is ballot stuffing.

    Also, why can’t I see the results after I vote like we could in previous polls? Can you add that please.

  4. September 19th, 2006 2:22 am

    I have graded him best in econ policies,average in domestic and worst in foreign affairs.

  5. September 19th, 2006 2:29 am

    Daktar, we had used various free Blog ‘Poll’ services for previous polls. They allow one to see the results as the poll progresses, but they only allow one question at a time (which would have meant voting four seperate times in this case). Hence, I went with a commercial ‘Survey’ tool this time. It allows for multiple and nested questions and also for fancy statistical analysis of the results. However, it does not allow for dynamnic display of results (in fact, its output is a database that one can then analyze). Hence, unfortunately, the immediate results are not avaialble.

    If there is interest, however, I will periodically post the results as they evolve in the comments section.

  6. September 19th, 2006 2:38 am

    As of now (some 1hr 45min after being posted), a total of 14 votes have been cast:

    2 A+ 1 A
    1 B
    1 C 3 C
    6 F

    4 A+ 3 A 1 A-
    1 B 1 B
    2 C
    2 F

    1 A+ 1 A 1 A-
    2 B 2 B-
    1 C 1 C-
    1 D
    4 F

    3 A+ 1 A 3 A-
    1 B+
    1 C
    5 F

  7. Kashif says:
    September 19th, 2006 5:09 am

    He does not deserve A in anything.

  8. Khalid R Hasan says:
    September 19th, 2006 6:04 am

    This is my first comment on your site though I visit it most days ever since my son -who found you days after you first started -directed me to it.

    In my opinion,Foreign Affairs rates an A because I don’t think anyone else could have achieved much more, but Economy is no better than a B because part of recent success has been fortuitous and may not be sustainable.

    Governance and Reform gets a C for effort, while Politics is at best a D (I thought of choosing F but decided against it).

  9. PatExpat says:
    September 19th, 2006 6:42 am

    I wanted to read comments on Musharraf’s performance yet everybody has listed down their votes. We will get a consolidated picture in a week anyway. The comments should be used to explain ones point of view if any and not list down how one has voted.

    The proof of pudding is in eating. I would rate him by results and not intentions. Intentions can be interpreted any way.

    If I want to rate him on domestic front which includes politics (baluchistan, waziristan, PML(Q) which I like to call PML(Musharraf))and governance, he should get below average marks. The reason is that unlike democratically elected Prime Ministers who never had a chance to complete five years and who are always involved in political fighting, appeasing the army; Musharraf was an all powerful autocratic General. And look at the mess we have on domestic front. Except for Benazir and Nawaz Sharif, all the corrupt politicians are in Musharraf’s cabinet; the governor and chief minister are both convicted criminals etc.

    On the foreign affair front, as Khalid R Hasan put it, he is not better than others before him. Despite all the talk of friendship, we had nothing to show for India Pakistan peace effort till last week. As we all like to claim that the rest of the nation is forgetful, easily forgetting how the politicians have looted us, we will again forget that before the NAM meeting in Havana, the talks with India had been written off.

    Nawaz Sharif did more in confidence building measures with Vajpayee before Musharraf bet it all on his Kargil adventure.

    India got the better arms deal and a nuclear deal. Has anyone even read the terms of recent F-16 sales. Its like putting our defence in US hands. Our soverignity is at stake there. Speeches and appluases in UN meetings does not mean better foreign relations.

    On economic front, I am in the process of collecting data and will revert. And already this post is too long.

  10. September 19th, 2006 9:35 am

    I really admire your efforts to serve Pakistan with loyality. Current poll is one example of those efforts. I have my blog in urdu and have posted a note regarding your site’s beauty and urged others to visit it constantly. As I mentioned in my post, is this possible that you can start it’s urdu version.
    I gave all Fs to Musharraf because of having doubt in his loyality with Pakistan. I believe he is not loyal to Pakistan and whatever he has done so far is due to his masters’ demands. One day when his masters will leave him alone, then we will se what he would do for his country. He didn’t do any thing for economy and I believe it is outcome of current internantional circumstances. One day when Pakistan’s help will not be required and will be left alone, then we will see what Pakistani dictator would do for his country.
    Keep up your good work and wish you good luck.

  11. September 19th, 2006 10:24 am

    First, let me second the point made by PatExpat. If you want, certianly, say how you voted (although we have tried to ensure that those who wish to will remain anonymous from everyone). However, it may be more useful to discuss the merits of General Sahib’s performance, and why you voted as you did. Anyhow, this is just a thought to get a dsicussion going.

    As of now, a total of 40 votes have been cast:

    A+(2); A(1)
    B(2); B-(1)
    C+(4); C(5); C-(3)
    D+(1); D(3); D-(2)

    A+(6); A(4); A-(2)
    B+(10); B(6)
    C+(4); C-(1)

    A+(1); A(1); A-(2)
    B+(4); B(3); B-(2)
    C+(2); C(5); C-(2)
    D+(2); D(3)

    A+(5); A(6); A-(4)
    B+(4); B(4); B-(2)
    C+(3); C(1)

  12. Aziz Akhmad says:
    September 19th, 2006 11:41 am


    (a) Domestic politics: In this I would include clean and credible elections, a sovereign, independent and functioning parliament where members don’t change loyalties for fear or greed, and center-province relations. On this account I would rate the present regime no better than the worst in the past — a D at best.

    (b) Economy and development: We have done fairly well in the last 5 years for whatever reasons. Foreign investment, however, is still shy for reasons relating to governance and poorer sections of the society are no better than they were in the past. I would rate this a B.

    (c) Governance and reform would include law and order, justice system and human rights, corruption and accountability, functioning of local governments, education, and health. Unfortunately, we haven’t done too well in this area. (Sep. 19 Daily Times headlines read “Transparency says Musharraf regime more corrupt than BB, Nawaz govts”.) So, it would be an undisputed F on this account.

    (d) Foreign affairs: I think Musharraf government has done fairly well in this area and therefore deserves a B

  13. September 19th, 2006 1:14 pm

    Army leader was to have imposed new methods to govern the country. I mean to say equal representation among four units of federation just like to be elected supreme assembly. Which would lead to domestic politics. Economy and development both are poor due to international interruption, which is a proof of the poor economical policies. Governance and reforms are also poor due to political uncertainty. Mistakes can make poor in all walks of the life. Having been poor! Positive efforts to be taken to remain safe. Reforms are very essential to take part for making safe our administration and it has no need to be adherent of the mistakes. If administration committed any more mistakes itself, it will loose its control. We are being examined by our own affairs within country and out of it, other countries have kept keen eye upon us. So, it is time to be made right decisions.

  14. Eidee Man says:
    September 19th, 2006 3:38 pm

    My grades:

    Domestic politics: D-
    - provincial system in Sindh and other places is in shambles. Musharraf has allied with the devil himself (read MQM) to maintain control.

    Economy and development: B
    - some decent work by Shaukat Aziz and crew considering the state Sharif sahab had left us in. However, that B is generous since poverty is still rampant.

    Governance and reform: C
    - some progress at federal level. However, that has come at the cost of disenfranchising the majority by making a mockery of the established parties. Hudood still there.

    Foreign Affairs: A-
    - some decent work here it must be said. Musharraf has had to walk a very tight rope during the last 5 years or so. Has tried especially hard to make peace with India desptite the latter’s efforts to the contrary.

  15. Adnan Ahmad says:
    September 19th, 2006 4:43 pm

    I am disappointed in him in many areas, specially in governance and reform of the society. Country has seemingly gone into the grip of fanaticism over the last decade and he should have done a lot more to bring back the pendulum. However, it is not easy to get rid of the crop implanted by zia, overnight. Also when you see people like ch. shujaat, pervaiz elhai, sh. rahseed at the center what good can you expect from such a setup? Old crooks, new stories.

    However inflated numbers might be they still are much better when compared with the 90s. Having visited Pakistan recently after a very long time I could see the general ves in the economy. And it must be to his credit. And as Aziz Akhmad mentioned he also has done fairly well in foreign policy.

    A rare criticism on Adil’s post: Having seen polls in the U.S. for a long time in the media may be my eyes have changed in their focus, but the picture of him you posted up top does not indicate a level playing field. Again this is something the rest may not have noticed and as a result may not have mattered.

  16. September 19th, 2006 5:46 pm

    Dear Adnan Ahmad, I hope the pictures I used with the post have not swayed anyone’s votes one way or the other. That was certainly not the intention. The one on the top is from the Wall Street Journal and was used about a year or more ago, if I recall right, in a front page article that was fairly complimentary to Gen. Musharraf. I used it purely for aesthetic reasons (I like pencil drawings and since we usually have photographs, I thought this might be good; plus he has a thoughtful look in the portrayed). The second picture is one I have used on ATP before. Irrespective of what you think of the subject, I like it simply for its photographic merits and framing. Since I was using 2 pictures it felt fair to have one in military and one in civilian clothes, since he wears each type with equal frequency.

    Anyhow, since you do think it is somehow leading, I will be very happy to replace it. Do send me your alternative choice (if you send me a URL of any picture that’s on the web, we should be able to work from there). Alternatively, I can swap teh two pictures and bring the other one to the top. As I said, I hope my picture choice is in no way influencing anyone’s vote.

  17. September 19th, 2006 6:21 pm

    You have raised an interesting point, even though I don’t think my vote was swayed by this particular choice of photographs.

    How are leaders get portrayed in media pictures etc does have a big influence on how a society shapes its expectations from them. For example Nawaz Sharif was often seen inaugurating new industries, bridges, highways; Benazir was seen showing up at villages and at shrines etc; and Musharraf is shown shaking hands with foreign dignitaries or as a strong international business/tough talking military guy.

  18. Adnan Ahmad says:
    September 19th, 2006 9:16 pm

    Adil, your explanation would suffice. Please don’t make me surf looking for Musharraf’s picture on the web; it’s the last thing I would want to do.:)

    You are right. I think it is an interesting part of journalism today and happens pretty much every where. (I am certain now that Adil didn’t indulge in what I had “assumed”). How many CLOSEups of Zaheer or Inzamam do you recall seeing in the recent saga on bbc or cricinfo. I think picture in itself makes up the villain or the hero regardless of the related story and it is a useful tool to convey the message.

  19. PatExpat says:
    September 20th, 2006 1:50 am

    As reported in DAWN today,

    [quote post="309"]US helicopters intrude into N. Waziristan[/quote]

    Despite his tough-talking foreign-dignitary-hand-shaking attitude, this event highlights just how much inroads most-allied-ally has made in foreign affairs. Last year it was a missile attack by Americans on our soil (vehemently denied by Sherpao and Sheikh Rasheed despite obvious evidence to the contrary) and now helicopter gunship attacks. Lets see how our government’s-writ-extender reacts to this in USA.

    We may not like that present government has signed a contract with N. Waziristan tribes. But an agreement is an agreement and should be adhered to.

    If those tribes assume that US army attacked with the approval of Musharraf this can escalate into another war. Earlier one has already cost Pakistan Army more than few thousand soldiers fighting against their own countrymen.

    I can hold my F grade in foreign affairs since we are again making claims of progress with India, but if history is anything to go by, any agreement will not be long lasting.

  20. September 20th, 2006 2:34 am

    Folks, just to keep people in the loop on this. As of now, a total of 87 votes have been cast:

    A (8); A(3); A-(2)
    B (6); B(3); B-(3)
    C (8); C(7); C-(4)
    D (2); D(6); D-(5)

    A (18); A(10); A-(8)
    B (15); B(14); B-(1)
    C (6); C-(1)
    D (1); D(1); D-(1)

    A (7); A(2); A-(9)
    B (9); B(7); B-(6)
    C (3); C(8); C-(3)
    D (3); D(5); D-(4)

    A (20); A(14); A-(11)
    B (5); B(5); B-(3)
    C (7); C(1)
    D (2); D(1); D-(1)

  21. BD says:
    September 20th, 2006 3:25 am

    Domestic Politics:

    D for Dorky alliances


    A- , Did his best given all adverse circumstances.


    Where are all the “checks and balances” he talked about just after the coup? Where are the independent institutions? He has delivered nothing in this regard. How is Pakistan more ready for democracy than it was before the coup?

    Foreign Affairs:
    Handling of the post 9/11 scenario and being able to save the asses of big shots while handing the A.Q.Khan episode :D

  22. RS says:
    September 20th, 2006 8:57 am

    Pls give an “A” rating for Mushy for Foreign Affairs. Its not always a US poodle cum dictator gets a gatekeeper PM of another country afflicted with “Stockholm Syndrome.”

  23. baibus says:
    September 20th, 2006 12:45 pm

    bohat khoob.
    Aacha kiya aap nay yeh moqa diya.
    Warna Musharraf sahib nay tou daina nahi tha.
    Be-shaq yeh sirf dil ki diljoee hai.
    Laikin dil bhi behal gaya
    Aur jamhoori haq bhi ada hua.

  24. Ramesh Balakrishnan says:
    September 20th, 2006 4:24 pm

    Very timely poll. I participated in it and I’m looking forward to the results very soon. Under the circumstances, Musharraf is doing a great job.

    Whether in Army uniform, Sherwani or Armani, Musharraf is stunningly handsome and it doesn’t matter which picture of him is posted. He looks good in everything.

  25. September 20th, 2006 5:33 pm

    I agree with BD thats why I am giving him “A” in Foreign Affairs. But I do not appreciate President Musharaf’s decision on military actions against tribes of Frontier and Balochistan.

    I am glad atleast the country’s economy looks better, though one can say its temporary but atleast it has showed some postive developments. He has given much freedom to media, which is also countable.

  26. Hanif says:
    September 20th, 2006 5:58 pm

    Everyone seems ready to give him credit on the economy. But inflation is high. The poor are increasing. And whatever growth is happening is happening at the top.

  27. Fatah says:
    September 20th, 2006 7:18 pm

    We have to admit that the economy has taken off under Musharraf. Yes the benefits have largely been seen at the top of society, yet there is a tricke down effect happening.
    However Governance and Reform truly deserve a F. There has been no change in corruption, in fact nearly all those in NAB custody have been released and many rewarded handsomely with important ministries.(Sherpao, Liaquat Jatoi, Faisal Saleh Hayat)
    We have an alleged murderer as Governor Sindh. Finally what this country really needed and expected from Musharraf was justice. They expected people to be held accountable and they expected him to institute judicial reforms so that the average citizen could expect justice in the courts of Pakistan. Sadly that day is as far away as it was in 1999.

  28. Raza Haider says:
    September 21st, 2006 12:16 am

    Like Fatah, and most of the other people from the poll based on Adild pre release of the results, I had assumed the economic growth was trickling down and had given the general high marks on econ and develop. However, my sister, who works in the development sector, vehemently oppposed my rationale and was quoting figures that suggest an increase in poverty and a deterioration in health and education services in the rural areas. Does anyone else have any data or facts on this topic.

  29. PatExpat says:
    September 21st, 2006 2:11 am

    On governance and reform.

    Punjab government had a journalist beaten a few days ago. Now they have asked the police to force cable operators to drop ARY from their list of channels.

    So much freedom of speech, governance and reform.

  30. September 21st, 2006 11:07 am

    Just to give another update, as of now, a total of 126 votes have been cast:

    A (13); A(5); A-(2)
    B (10); B(7); B-(5)
    C (13); C(8); C-(5)
    D (3); D(10); D-(6)

    A (26); A(16); A-(14)
    B (18); B(20); B-(5)
    C (9); C-(1)
    D (1); D(1); D-(1)

    A (11); A(4); A-(11)
    B (15); B(9); B-(9)
    C (6); C(10); C-(4)
    D (4); D(8); D-(7)

    A+(30); A(20); A-(16)
    B+(9); B(10); B-(3)
    C+(7); C(2)l C-(2)
    D+(2); D(1); D-(1)

  31. N.Z. says:
    September 22nd, 2006 12:17 pm

    No matter how you grade him, this visit to the US is Musharraf’s biggest test of foriegn policy. He has to convince a jittery US that he is still with them, and he has to simultaneously convince a jittery Pakistan that his first interest is Pakistan. Tightrope walking.

  32. September 23rd, 2006 12:22 pm

    Just to give another update, as of now, a total of 177 votes have been cast (We plan to close the Poll on Monday morning, US Eastern Time, and to post consolidated results, and GPA, later):

    A+(16); A(9); A-(6)
    B+(15); B(10); B-(6)
    C+(17); C(10); C-(7)
    D+(5); D(11); D-(9)

    A+(34); A(23); A-(20)
    B+(23); B(25); B-(8)
    C+(11); C (4); C-(1)
    D+(2); D(2); D-(2)

    A+(16); A(8); A-(15)
    B+(21); B(12); B-(12)
    C+(7); C(13); C-(5)
    D+(11); D(9); D-(9)

    A+(45); A(28); A-(16)
    B+(15); B(15); B-(4)
    C+(9); C(3); C-(3)
    D+(2); D(1); D-(3)

  33. PatExpat says:
    September 24th, 2006 2:19 pm

    By the way, we don’t need US bombs to take us back to stone age. KESC and WAPDA can do the same job – thank you very much. Meanwhile the PM is busy calling him in USA sucking up to him while the whole of the country is in total darkness.

    This is called economic progress.

  34. September 27th, 2006 12:50 pm

    [...] Also see ATP poll on ‘Grading Gen. Musharraf’s Performance’. Updated story on his media engagements and book tour, here. [...]

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