None is above law and everyone, both ruled and rulers, should face the consequences of his actions, especially the crimes committed against humanity.
A Pakistani special treason tribunal has issued an arrest warrant for the former US-backed military strongman Pervez Musharraf, who is on trial for treason over his imposition of a state of emergency in 2007. The court also refused to allow him to travel abroad for medical treatment for a heart condition that he complained of suffering while travelling to the tribunal on January 2.
In 2007, after suspending the constitution and declaring emergency rule, Musharraf ordered the military to occupy the parliament and the Supreme Court, take private television stations off the air and jail political opponents. Several judges, including the country’s chief justice, were sacked. If convicted of treason, Musharraf could face the death penalty.
Musharraf was summoned to appear before the tribunal on December 24, but has yet to attend the court due to security and health concerns. The protracted process of beginning the trial points to sharp divisions in Pakistani ruling circles, including the military, over the charges.
A strong US ally, Musharraf has been granted bail in these cases, and is eligible to be bailed on the latest arrest warrant. The court yesterday, however, insisted it did not have the power to take Musharraf off an “exit control list” preventing him from leaving the country.
By allowing the US forces to enter Afghanistan through Pakistan, aiming at destabilization of both these nations, besides many more nations, the former Pakistani president had been responsible for the ongoing terror wars perpetrated by NATO in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Bush administration relied heavily on Musharraf to facilitate the 2001 US-led invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Pakistan’s withdrawal of support for the Taliban government, which it had helped install, was critical to the Taliban’s rapid overthrow. The Musharraf regime also provided supply routes for US forces in Afghanistan and helped track down “terrorist” targets.
Musharraf seized power in a military coup in 1999, ousting Nawaz Sharif, who is once again the prime minister today. Following the 1999 coup, the military tried and convicted Sharif of “kidnapping, attempted murder, hijacking and terrorism and corruption.” He was only allowed to go into exile after an intervention by Saudi Arabia.
Musharraf ruled until early 2008 when the PPP led by Zardari won the parliamentary poll, pushing for Musharraf’s exit. . His exit was arranged by the US in alliance with Saudi and UAE. Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who had returned to Pakistan, was assassinated in December 2007 while campaigning for national and regional assembly elections.
Musharraf returned from self-exile last year in a bid to contest the election last May, which was won by Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (Narwaz) (PML-N). The new government hesitated for months before filing treason charges.
Musharraf, who had asked the military to attack the Red Mosque in Islamabad, killing the Imam, among others inside, also faces other charges, including for the murder of Bhutto and a military assault in August 2006 that killed Balochi nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti.
Musharraf has denounced the case against him as a “political vendetta.” When the hearing began in December, he warned: “When you’re doing wrong against an army chief, you’re causing disturbances with the military ranks.” He claimed that the army was “totally with me on this issue.”
Speaking in parliament last June, Sharif declared: “Musharraf has to answer for his misdeeds.” His comments were no doubt pitched at deep hostility to the former dictator, both within the PML-N and more broadly.
Sharif, however, has already indicated that there will be no broader probe into the military under Musharraf’s rule. The military has been central to propping up corporate rule in Pakistan and has ruled the country for more than half of its existence. Having been a victim of military action, Sharif is acutely aware that he cannot afford to alienate the army.
The military, which Musharraf acknowledged tried to dissuade him from returning to take part in last year’s election, has been largely silent on the trial. However, the fact that Musharraf is being treated at a military facility, which recommended he be sent abroad, indicates that the army would prefer that no trial took place.
Moreover, facing growing opposition, the government enacted the Pakistan Protection Ordinance last month, granting extraordinary powers to the security forces. The military might defy the civilian authorities to protect Musharraf.
Musharraf has appealed to the United Nations, as well as the US, UK and Saudi Arabia, to intervene, saying he would not receive a fair trial in Pakistan. But the Obama regime has washed its hands of Musharraf, saying his trial was an “internal matter.”
Sharif is just as committed to the US and its occupation of Afghanistan as Musharraf was. The current government has turned a blind eye to the CIA’s drone war in Pakistani border areas with Afghanistan that has resulted in hundreds of civilian casualties, and has given the green light for air attacks in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region.
The Sharif government is confronting a deepening dilemma over Musharraf’s trial. Having raised public expectations that the ex-dictator will face justice, it cannot readily ditch the prosecution. At the same time, the government faces resistance from the military that is clearly concerned that the trial could expose its involvement in Musharraf’s crimes and open the way for broader prosecutions.
The Sharif government is heavily dependent on US military aid, as well as loans from international agencies such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
Pakistani elite seeks regular free trips to USA and they consider themselves fellow travelers with Musharraf in defending the NATO crimes, supporting the US attacks on Pakistanis, looting Pakistani resources for personal causes.
Musharraf must answer the blood of millions of innocent Muslims, branded by CIA as terrorists and insurgents.
If Musharraf is left free by the judiciary, hopefully he won’t be, the strong message would be sent to the world that the rulers can commit any number of crimes.
Fake democracy or falsified Islam is one thing in Pakistan, but committing crimes by rulers against people just by misusing the thumping powers should be addressed properly now.
About the writer:
د. عبد راف
Unfortunately, today there is not even on Muslim nation practicing a truly Islamic faith.
-BY DR. ABDUL RUFF COLACHAL has been an Educationist, Columnist-Commentator on world affairs Expert on Mideast Affairs, Former university Teacher; Editor:INTERNATIONAL OPINION; FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES; Author of books; website: http://abdulruff.wordpress.com/ Phone: 91-8129081217---(Account: No 62310377429 - CIF No: 78215311481- State Bank of Hyderabad, India) firstname.lastname@example.org