The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is probably one of the most widely watched political critque show in North America. Jon is a keen observer of US politics, critical of the currentl US policies in Iraq and the middle east and doesnt waste any opportunity to find gaps in what the US government says and does. His astute sense of humor and ability to put his guests on spot made his meeting with Musharaf an interesting encounter.
In a typical Jon Stewart way, he had a surprise that no one was expecting, a pot of jasmine tea - that he got from some Pakistani store - along side a plate of twinkies. He poured a cup for the prez and for himself, and started his discussion with a toast to Musharafs health. Barely had they taken a sip that he came with his controversial question, where is Osama bin Laden.
When I saw Musharaf on Sunday in 60 minutes, I was dissapointed. He appeared to be mellowed down, a man defeated in his endeavours. The soldier in him appeared to be lost in battle or missing in action. But that wasnt the case tonight. He was sharp and on his feet. He had a response to Jon's curve balls. He responded to Jon's Osama question by saying "I dont know, but if you know where he his, lead us to him." The discussion primarily revolved his memoires In The Line of Fire (I am getting it next week hopefully) but the entire references were around Pakistan, the culture, the people, the frontier provinces as well as the treaty with the tribes in Waziristan. Jon couldnt hold his punches back on George W and asked Musharaf if he seems "attentive" in conversation and if he is open to suggestions about Iraq.
Musharaf handed himself very well. He was articulate in his responses and I wouldnt be surprised if he won a few hearts with the show today. The final question that Jon asked, as a part of his seat of heat segment, was that if Osama and George W ran for some governement office in Karachi, who would win. In his true style, Musharaf remarked, they would both loose misreably. The response elicted lauhgs among the audience and the host alike.
From the view of an absolute Pakistani, and some people consider me a pro-establishment right winger, I would not have any else but Musharaf represent us on such a forum. I looked into the list of all the past leaders since General Zia and I couldnt picture anyone creating a decent respectable and moderate image for Pakistan as does Musharaf. I have seen leaders like BB, Nawaz Sharif (goodness imagine that dumbass on any talk show) and others constantly pushing their political objectives. Musharaf recognized the need and the nature of the show, and played along. Yet another reason why, despite some of his shortcomings, I continue to support President Musharaf in quest to improve the global image and domestic situation and economical situation of Pakistan