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Action against Musharraf- An Invitation to Political Instability
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
Paevez Musharaf looking tired

The former President of Pakistan General, (Retd.) Parvez Musharraf is once again in the limelight of international media. For Musharraf, it is said that he is one of the most popular leaders of Pakistan globally. On the other side, the internal opposition which Musharraf had to face in the last days of his office is too unmatched. It can be said that though he faced criticism and opposition, Musharraf was equally popular as well. His style of conversation, art of giving to the point replies, sense of humour and administrative capability, were behind his popularity.

Though technically, in India’s view, Musharraf is a culprit of war crime. But, the way in which he took strong measures against terrorists in Pakistan (specially in the last days in office), which culminated in the Operation Sunrise (the siege of Lal Masjid), this too helped change the image of Musharraf in India from a war criminal to a strong leader fighting against terrorism. Anyway, Mr. Musharraf is in London since last three months. Meanwhile, on 10 August, the additional District and Session Judge of Islamabad, Justice Abdul Vakil Khan directed the Islamabad police to file a case against Musharraf. He is charged of detaining the judges of Supreme Court during the Emergency in 2007. This is being conceived as illegal.

It is well known that the judges detained by Musharraf regime were the same who refused to take work in the new constitutional arrangement. Consequently, Musharraf suspended 60 Supreme Court judges along with the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhary. It can be said that this step became the reason d’ etre for Musharraf’s resignation, though he was doing all this to remain in office. He constituted a new judiciary by terminating the Constitution, became President from military ruler, imposed emergency. But the suspended judiciary got huge support of people. Finally, after the international intervention, Musharraf got ready to conduct general elections. In elections, the parties with his support were scrubbed badly, while the two main political parties, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Pakistan People’s Party jointly formed the government.

Musharraf, an expert army ruler, was, probably, aware of the forthcoming situation. So, he installed his loyal General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as the new army chief. Even after the elections, he was not ready to leave the office of the President. But the majority of the members of the newly elected National Assembly didn’t want to see his as President. The speculation of impeachment against him, became alive. At last, Musharraf resigned voluntarily, thus evading impeachment.

There is a provision of imprisonment for three years in the case which is filed against Musharraf for illegal detention of judges. A large segment of anti-Musharraf people including the PML(N) of Nawaz Sharif is of the view that this action against Musharraf is too little & too late. It believes that Musharraf should be booked under the law of anti-national activities, for illegally imposing emergency. It means, such a case that should make Musharraf hanged. Litigation was also filed in the Supreme Court in this context, which was rejected by the 14-member bench Justice Iftikhar Choudhary by saying that such a case can’t be filed by the Supreme Court. It is the work of the Parliament.

Knowing about the developments against him in Pakistan, he is currently staying in Britain and is not in a mood to return to Pakistan. Britain is also ready to provide him exile. Besides, the high level secret talks are on between the British government and the Pakistan government. Britain is trying to convince the Pak government, not to initiate any revengeful proceedings against Musharraf. The special British envoy, Sir Mark Loyal Grant has met the President Asif Ali Zardari and the PML leader Nawaz Sharif in this context. It is supposed that the mediation attempts by the British government would succeed and the actions against Musharraf would be stopped. It is worth remembering that after the similar attempts of Britain, Musharraf agreed to conduct elections. Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto were able to return to Pakistan and by similar British attempts, Zardari was acquitted from the corruption cases against him. Mark Loyal Grant is the same envoy, who got Musharraf agreed to proper treatment of Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari.

The question is if the British mediators don’t succeed in their objective, will the Pak government be able to arrest Musharraf? Perhaps never, because Pakistan has no such legal framework under which it can arrest Musharraf from Britain. And in the case of talks failing, the traditional show of muscle power by many former generals including General Kayani, who are supporters of Musharraf, can’t be denied. Amidst the possibilities of such political instability in Pakistan, if any legal proceeding is initiated against Musharraf, then it can adversely affect the offensive of the Pak army against Taliban. Besides, the anti-Musharraf extremist powers active in Pakistan, would be encouraged by such proceedings. It is for the Pakistan government to decide whether to act against Musharraf with revenge or in view of the possible political instability and honouring the British mediation, let Musharraf live a peaceful life.

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Other Articles by Tanveer Jafri
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Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes on a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.






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