Karan Thapar’s interview of Musharraf – One Hour of Television History

A pat on the back to Karan Thapar for what was a fantastic interview of Musharraf that he did for CNN IBN. I cannot recollect having seen such a well controlled and logically conducted interview on television for a long time, not even on BBC. Thapar’s approach is simple. First, he makes a proposition to his interviewee and asks for his opinion. The interviewee inevitably gives a politically correct answer. Then, Thapar follows up with a huge pile of facts that contradict the interviewee’s statement. To see, Musharaff stutter and stammer like an errant school kid in the face of Thapar’s unforgiving logical reasoning was quite an unprecedented moment in television history.

At one point, Thapar quietly inquired whether the General was so desperate to take the peace process forward that he was even willing to take ideas from a television journalist (to which the General mumbled an embarrassed ‘yes’). Take a bow, Karan Thapar.

Observations on Musharraf:
Pervez Musharraf’s statements clearly gave him away as a authoritarian leader. He called for the Indian leadership to stop taking ideas from ‘agencies’ and ‘organizations’. He even clearly stated that any leader should be firm enough to ensure that his own ideas are implemented and if anyone does not toe the leader’s line, he does not have any place in the leader’s view of things. Variations of this theme were repeatedly expressed throughout the interview in a rather unapologetic manner.

Pervez Musharraf loves to show bravado in his words. His repeated usage of phrases like ‘this is absolute nonsense’ in the place of careful logic and argument show a man who pulls the trigger before he thinks. It is not too difficult to imagine him reaching for the nuclear button if Manmohan Singh irritates him too much! Perhaps, his not being a politician in the true sense means that his approach to problem solving is one of proposing ideas, filtering out bad ones, and picking one and executing it. Diplomacy, however does not work in the same way as an advertising agency working on a product’s positioning!

In the end, it was a fantastic 2 part series. Musharraf may regret his choice of words and his illogical bravado, but to be fair, it was quite refreshing to see some honest answers to tricky questions.
Do read the full transcript here.



Filed under Television

2 responses to “Karan Thapar’s interview of Musharraf – One Hour of Television History

  1. cynical nerd

    Interesting post. We have a somewhat different take on Musharraf’s interview.


    best regards,

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