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The return of Musharraf

Even a casual glance at what is in public domain on Musharraf reveals that historically he has time and again acted without thoroughly examining the consequences of his impending actions.

i) In 1965 shortly before the outbreak of the war Musharraf’s Sixteenth Self Propelled Artillery Regiment was moved to the Changa Manga forest near Lahore. He applied for leave which was refused he however, absented from duty for full eight days, on his return Court Marshal proceedings were initiated; however, he was saved from being Drummed out by the Indian attack on Lahore on September 6, 1965.

ii) In 1998 the Indian reaction to the Kargil attack was not properly evaluated as a consequence Pakistan Army lost about one thousand (1,000) men and officers. Consequently the PM had to go to Washington to pull his chestnuts out of the fire. The recording of his telephone conversation with the Chief of General Staff proved that he had kept the Prime Minister in the dark.

iii) In March 2008 in the reference against the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the reaction and the steadfast resolve of the CJ was not foreseen, nor was the total support by the lawyers and all the Bar Associations of the country for the CJ was thought of. As a result the CJ was restored and Musharraf had to eat the humble pie.

iv) When Musharraf made the NRO deal with the PPP he did not consider the possibility of being impeached after the elections with the help of PML (N).

It appears that true to form Musharraf has come back after over four years of self exile without evaluating the facts and the new ground conditions which are:

a) New election rules require that only parties which have held intraparty elections will be registered. Only a few days are now left to file the nomination papers. Furthermore the new nomination forms include data which require to be very carefully filled.

b) The Election Commission and its members are independent. The Chief Election Commissioner is not likely to entertain any pressure and has vowed to hold free and fair elections.

c) The Caretaker Prime Minister is a former judge from Balochistan (a Khosa from Jaffarabad). He too has promised to hold free and fair elections.

d) There are cases against Musharraf in Quetta (Nawab Bhugti’s murder), in Rawalpindi (Benazir’s murder) and in Islamabad (Lal Masjid) since all these are criminal cases his personal presence is required in each hearing even if he is granted bail by all three courts. One wonders if he has taken these facts into consideration?

e) The Supreme Court Judgement of 31, July 2009 very clearly and without any ambiguity states that;

“The Proclamation of Emergency issued by General Pervez Musharraf as the Chief of Army Staff (as he then was) on November 3, 2007; the Provisional Constitution Order No 1 of 2007 issued by him on the same date in his said capacity; the Oath of Office (Judges) Order of2007 issued by him also on the same date though as the President of Pakistan but in exercise of powers under the aforesaid Proclamation of Emergency and the Provisional Constitution Order No 1 of 2007; The Provisional Constitution (Amendment) Order, 2007 issued by him likewise on 15.11.2007; the Constitution (Amendment) Order, 2007 being President’s Order No 5 of 2007 issued on November 20, 2007; the Constitution (Second Amendment) Order, 2007 being the President’s Order No 6 of 2007 issued on 14th December, 2007; the Islamabad High Court (Establishment) Order 2007 dated 14th December 2007 being the President’s Order No 7 of 2007; the High Court Judges (Pensionary Benefits) Order, 2007 being Presidents Order No 8 of 2007; the Supreme Court Judges (Pensionary Benefits) Order, 2007 being President’s Order No 9 of 2007 dated 14th December, 2007 are hereby declared to be unconstitutional, ultra-vires of the Constitution and consequently being illegal and of no legal value.”

One wonders if Musharraf has taken cognisance of the fact that he has been declared guilty in the above judgement as per the Article-6 of the Constitution of Pakistan which states:

“Any person who abrogates or attempts or conspires to abrogate, subverts or attempts or conspires to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.” It is now reported that the government has initiated the process of lodging the high treason case against Musharraf and that the Secretary Interior has been appointed as the complaint officer. The date of hearing in the court of Justice Kazim Raza Shamsi will be fixed soon by the Registrar’s Office of the Lahore High Court.

In the coming days and weeks Musharraf will be travelling to Lahore, Quetta and Islamabad/Rawalpindi to attend the hearings of these cases and spending time with his lawyers. It is doubtful if he will be able to get bail from all the existing three cases and avert being arrested in the impending High Treason Case. One wonders how much time he will have left for politics and electioneering? It now appears that Musharraf has once again acted impulsively without diligently examining the actual conditions obtaining in Pakistan.

Inam Khawaja, "The return of Musharraf," Business recorder. 2013-03-29.