NO one knows who persuaded Mr Pervez Musharraf to return to Pakistan. Already facing several court cases, he now seems to be badly trapped by the prime minister’s announcement in the National Assembly on June 24 that it would try the former military dictator for subverting the constitution twice, duly supported by opposition parties.

According to some legal experts, the civilian and military leadership of the Musharraf regime cannot be tried for abetting him for imposing the emergency. As such it appears to open Pandora’s box because the other sub-clause of article 6 also says that the people who were associated with him in his act of violating the constitution would also be tried for high treason.

In some people’s opinion, without the inclusion of the other high profile persons, Musharraf’s trial would create constitutional questions. Keeping the constitution in abeyance was not an offence on Nov 3, 2007 because it was added to article 6 in the 18th amendment. The imposition of the emergency was validated by then Chief Justice Dogar but the order was set aside by other judges at a later stage.

Setting aside the order by the apex court did not declare it non-existent Musharraf thus could get the benefit of the doubt from the judgment of Justice Dogar. On the contrary, some legal experts however have a different opinion. They say Musharraf’s trial would not open any Pandora’s box.

If Musharraf is tried under article 6, what would be the consequences? Will other associates also be brought to justice under the same article’s sub-clause for a transparent trial?

What about the other generals who violated the constitution in the past? Will they be left unaccountable?

It seems the government is trying to divert the people’s attention from other more important issues such as the energy crises, loadshedding, potable water, the rising prices of basic edible items, the worsening law and order situation, etc.

MUHAMMAD ANIS Karachi

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Comments (13)

MLN
July 2, 2013 10:19 am

Musharraf needs not be trialed for being an urdu speaking General please. If we really need to start this process, we'll have to look into the cases of Punjabi Generals first.

Nizamuddin Ahmad
July 2, 2013 10:36 am

The crimes were committed by Musharaf and company. The consequences will be decided by the courts of law The affairs of government should run independent of ongoing trial. Yes, people will be watching the trial with interest, so what. Pakistanis are smart people and they can handle pressure. The worst crime of all is to do nothing. The trial should go on. Hang Musharaf and his associates if found guilty. This will stop future crimes.Look out you thieves, " there is a new sheriff in town. "..

Guest63
July 2, 2013 12:37 pm

Can not agree more from your departing 3 lines .

Naved
July 2, 2013 1:40 pm

Musharraf case is an attempt of tactful revenge and diverting people's attention from the core problems like economy and law & order etc.

fida sayani
July 2, 2013 2:37 pm

I have repeatedly emphasis in my earlier comments in DAWN that because of other many problems facing the country, the citizen of Pakistan cannot condone Musharaf and his fellow Generals or Judges from their crime. These gentlemen irrespective of their position must be tried and punished to leave a lasting example for future Generals that the follower of Jinnah never ever will allow such happening to take place. This country was created by one of the greatest Lawyer of South Asia.

excalibur
July 2, 2013 2:42 pm

Article 6 in its original form specifies the offense against the Constitution in terms of SUBVERTING & ABROGATING it and definitely NOT in holding some of its Clauses in ABEYANCE as Musharraf did in 1999 as also on Nov 3 2007

Holding in ABEYANCE is not a cognizable offence under Treason Act as such. On both occasions the SC validated and iegitimised it

It was much later and as recent as in 2010 that under the 18th Amendment this word ABEYANCE was sneaked in with a malafide intention of hounding Musharraf. Foolishly though without realising that it cannot be applied with retrospective effect

Also on Nov 3 ,2007 Emergency was declared for a few weeks which is a Constitutional Provision as a safety valve against internal/external threats and at the express discretion of the President.

Indira Gandhi applied Emergency in India for two years under the same Provision.Was she tried for Treason ???

Khalid
July 2, 2013 6:43 pm

Well, Nawaz Sharif will do anything to get the 100s of millions of Pakistanis not think about the millions of illitrate children, the non-existent health facilities, the infrastructure that is creaking, the energy crises and so on. I wish rather than giving laptops to individuals, if desktops (they are cheaper than laptops) were given to schools, how much we would all have appreciated it?

saeed
July 2, 2013 6:51 pm

Anything is possible in this land of pure. They can be religious in the name of religion and they can be unlawful in the name of law.

SAL
July 2, 2013 8:34 pm

Musharraf is not responsible for all the crap. The country was brought to a threshold where necessary action was needed. If Musharraf is brought to trial, Nawaz Bhais 'Pandora Box' will be opened and worms will pop out. I hope he knows that.

A. J. Mahal
July 2, 2013 9:02 pm

@fida sayani: Really, JInnah - a greatest lawyer of south Asia? He was a lazy opporturnist. Name me one case that he tried in court!!!

mike jackson
July 2, 2013 9:10 pm

This case is a glaring proof of collusion between pmln supremo Nawaz and the 'judiciary'. Not surprised the free media is shying away from highlighting this aspect of the 'justice system'. One day we will find their motivations as well. Takes me back to the Zia's fraudulent case on Bhutto and the way judiciary coordinated to 'prosecute' Bhutto. Things haven't changed much have they ? Interestingly the existing judiciary has the same genetic mix as then . So they say personality traits run in the family ...Needless to say Nawaz is the same old Nawaz ...that gutless school kid trying to settle old scores under the garb of justice ..and apparently he was elected as a PM.

Sincerely

Mike

Musharraf-v-Sharif
July 2, 2013 10:24 pm

It is an issue of revenge, not treason. Government of post Musharraf period did nothing for five years. First thing Sharif government is doing is to charge former President with treason. He was knotty to tumble Sharif's government, but I understand the society welcomed it. Courts endorsed the overthrow of the government. As such it is mafia style vindictiveness against Musharraf. Musharraf a benign dictator or not but he did not enrich himself with commission received. He earned honest living by being on Lecture Circuit.

Imran A.
July 3, 2013 12:19 am

The politicians want to use Musharaf as a scape-goat to keep the attention of the public focused away from the real problems. They will keep this trial going on for the next 5 years and that is the only way PML can survive. The only problem I see with this approach is that when the tough will get going, Nawaz will not receive any sympathies from anyone.

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