When Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf decided to pen his memoirs, many associates cautioned him against writing a book that would rub India, Afghanistan and the US the wrong way. "Like a good military leader, I took the decision against the major part of their advice," he told a New York audience at the launch of In the Line of Fire—A Memoir on September 25. He admitted, gloatingly, that he was chastised by people close to him "for being forthright, overly candid".
Perhaps Musharraf should have listened to his advisors. For, his candour has angered governments, embarrassed leaders, and even provoked denials. Never before has a head of state stoked raging controversies through a book; never before has a national leader so insouciantly made public sensitive state secrets; never before has a president embarked on a foreign tour to promote his autobiography.
But then, he's General Pervez Musharraf, always irrepressible.
The portent of an impending controversy came in the days before In the Line of Fire was...