By: Dr Asad Raheel.
Both, the Parliament and the Supreme Court of Pakistan, had approved every single decision taken by President Musharraf throughout his rule, which included his decision to impose emergency rule on 03 Nov 2007. Whereas in this aftermath, the negotiated package deal in 2008, included his resignation and honourable exit, the stake-holders were not far-sighted enough to simultaneously provide indemnity to him or they had then sown the seeds of the conspiracy, leading to the present, unenviable impasse.
The onus for provision of indemnity to Gen Musharraf, as per unwritten conventions of Pakistan, rested on the shoulders of Gen Kyani (hereinafter called Gen Brutus) foremost for the reason that it was he, who to the reluctance of the President (ie the appointing authority), was instrumental to the unmerited restoration in 2008, of the CJP, Iftikhar Chaudhary (hereinafter called, the Merchant of Venice). It raises eyebrows that Gen Brutus, who was meticulous while negotiating of the infamous NRO (which unleashed the Bhuttos, Zardaris and the Shareefs on our heads, once again), was not as meticulous while negotiating the package deal to Gen Musharraf, who was his benefactor.
The govt’s subsequent attempt to seek Gen Musharraf’s deportation from exile in Britain, does not reconcile with its earlier decision to grant him an honourable exit, in 2008. The British govt’s debunking and terming this move as politically motivated, was sufficient to establish its mala fides.
By surrendering before the majesty of the Law of Pakistan, in March 2013, even in such hostile backdrop, Gen Musharraf pulled the rug under the feet of the prophets of doom, who were least expecting him to do so. Consequently these recriminators, rallied up against him, at a one-point agenda, without realising that an eye for an eye policy leads to amblyopia. It’s no wonder therefore, that they failed to discern between a fugitive & an honourable citizen, whose volunteering to face the courts, was unprecedented.
It was fair prediction that this vendetta brigade would entangle Gen Musharraf in a judicial morass, by instituting a series of fabricated cases against him and changing the rules of the game, through enactment of biased new laws and passing of whimsical verdicts. The plea taken by them that these measures would prevent another military take-over, is bullocks.
That some of these measures were ex-post-facto to the (03 Nov 2007) imposition of emergency rule, this series of new laws and verdicts, was essentially Musharraf specific. Hence the stage for his entrapment was set, prior to his return.
As of 03 Nov 2007, the requisite given in the constitution, for applying Article-6 was, “abrogation of the constitution” whereas the declaration of emergency of 03 Nov 2007 clearly stipulated that the constitution was “held in abeyance”. Therefore imposition of emergency rule (on the day that it was imposed), was perfectly legal/constitutional. The Eighteenth Amendment to the constitution passed on 08 Apr 2010, modified this by maintaining that holding the constitution in abeyance, is also tantamount to high treason. A verdict to similar effect had already been given in a case verdict by a 14 member supreme court bench on 31 July 2009. This bench was headed by the Merchant of Venice, who came shopping for Musharraf’s two pounds of flesh.
Generally speaking, ex-post-facto laws are seen as a violation of the rule of law, as it applies in a free and democratic society. The sentiment that ex-post-facto laws are against natural right is so strong that few, if any of the State constitutions have failed to proscribe them – – Thomas Jefferson.
Shortly after Gen Musharraf’s return to Pakistan in March 2013, the opening snap of the series of biased measures applied to him was a judgment by the Peshawar High Court, debarring him for life, from contesting elections in Pakistan. That there is no law of Pakistan under which this can be permitted, Gen Musharraf received an extra-judicial welcome. However, more toxic justice was to follow.
Four fabricated criminal cases were instituted against him from which he was eventually bailed out, to the dismay of his detractors. The vendetta brigade, however returned with a vengeance and contemplated to use its final straw ie Article 6 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the stage for which they had set prior and which they thought would break the camel’s back. Even this has not. That Gen Musharraf has also appeared even in a magistrate’s court, he would not be shy to appear in any court. However this so-called special court is by itself, unconstitutional.
Article-6 clause (3), leaves it to the Parliament to decide, if and whenever, such a case arises and is brought to its attention, to initiate a case of high treason against an individual. Other than the parliament, no other institution can approve application of Article-6. However, the treason case against Gen Musharraf was not initiated herein by the parliament; it was initiated by the govt, on the basis of a directive to such effect given to it by the Supreme Court. That constitutional procedure was violated, it was not legal to apply Article-6 but what better example could there be, of the biased govt-judiciary nexus?
Article-6 clause (2): Any person aiding or abetting the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason. That abettors, whose legal culpability under the Law, is equal to that of Gen Musharraf, have not been charged, totally vitiates his own culpability. More over, selective justice is injustice.
Whereas the supreme end of education is expert discernment in a faculty, for which we have highly qualified judges in the faculty of Law – – the principal source of law remains, “common sense”. A lesser qualified judge with more common sense shall almost certainly be a better judge than vice versa. Conversely, simple common sense can make bias evident, including the bias of a law-maker or judge. And the people of Pakistan do not lack, common sense.
Whereas it’s perhaps once in century that a person with as much wisdom, fairness and thereby reconciliation stamina as Mandela is born, these traits of our judiciary appear to be stymied by vendetta. Prejudice is like a fishing pole with a hook at one end & a fool at the other. While seeking revenge, it is said that one should dig two graves; one for himself. Pity the nation which rewards its criminals and punishes (or attempts to punish) its heroes. Gen Musharraf is not only a hero of Pakistan; he is also its only leader, which is prominent on the international stage.
Vendetta against Gen Musharraf and the ego of some individuals have been at exorbitant cost to the poor people of Pakistan. More over the special court proceedings have not been effective in three months of it’s convening and operations. Therefore, a financial audit of this special court needs to be conducted and responsibility should be fixed on its convening authority.
The judiciary-govt nexus maneuvering to seek its two pounds of flesh, is so prominent against General Musharraf, in this so-called treason case that its proceedings appear to be a sheer mockery of justice. It’s no wonder that the case now appears to have reached a blind alley. The fruits of democracy can only be relished through a continuous process of its evolution, which would tend to moderate our tribal and hence vengeance seeking mentality. Unfortunately till yet, this mentality remains a part and parcel of many of our self-assumed Westminster level legislators and Old Bailey level jurists, who on the other hand, have yet to deliver goods to the common man of Pakistan. With such obstacles in this evolution, the possibility of the whole system to be sent packing, looms high. Eminent jurist Asma Jehangir has not minced her words, in support to such effect.
Therefore, in the interest of all stake-holders and foremost, the people of Pakistan, prudence warrants this nexus to now desist from pursuing the treason case and to label it as, “hereby WITHDRAWN”.