A MAJOR discussion is who else will come under the ambit of the laws of treason. The question being asked is whether Article 6 should apply to Pervez Musharraf’s original coup of Oct 12, 1999, or only to his second and smaller action of Nov 3, 2007. One view is that Musharraf’s action of Oct 12 is not relevant now as it was legitimised by the Supreme Court and later validated by parliament under the 17th Amendment.
An opposing view is that the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to legitimise an extra-constitutional act or to give Musharraf three years to make whatever changes he wanted to the constitution.
Under this viewpoint, the validation by parliament is itself also illegal as a major justification was that the Supreme Court had legitimised it.
Thus all individuals who aided, abetted, or collaborated with Musharraf in 1999 and in 2007 would have to be tried and punished. This would include all individuals who helped in overthrowing Nawaz Sharif, all members of the Supreme Court who approved Musharraf’s original coup, and all members of parliament who aided, abetted, or collaborated with Musharraf by validating his coup through the 17th Amendment.
It is hypocrisy to say Musharraf’s original action of Oct 12 is not relevant now but continue to demand he should be punished under Article 6 for committing the crime of overthrowing a democratically-elected government. If the original crime has been washed clean and all abettors and collaborators have become innocent, then so is Musharraf. You cannot have it both ways.
By the way, the former president of Pakistan and former chief justice of the Lahore High Court, Justice Rafiq Tarar, would also be a collaborator as he continued as president for 20 months after Musharraf’s original action (until June 21, 2001). It is pertinent to remember that in Musharraf’s second action of Nov 3, 2007, no government was overthrown. The extra-constitutional period lasted only 42 days (Nov 3 to Dec 15).
The nation needs to think deeply and seriously before it embarks on a journey fraught with perils and pitfalls.
A. RAHIM Karachi
ON the one hand, Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf is being tried for high treason for abrogating the constitution and his papers are being rejected for the upcoming general elections. On the other hand, former premier Nawaz Sharif and family are being allowed to contest elections despite being unable to fulfil Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution.
They should have been disqualified on the basis of publicly lying and denying the presence of any deal for going abroad.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court’s clear verdict in the Asghar Khan case, as well as in loan write-offs as being present in the State Bank of Pakistan list, is sufficient proof for the same.
Similar is the case with Jamshed Dasti. The various attempts by Mr Dasti to fool the Election Commission of Pakistan regarding his fake degree disqualified him. But the latest news is that the election tribunal has released him and he may also now contest the elections.
These cases are only the tip of the iceberg and are creating a negative public perception regarding the principles of justice in Pakistan. The people of Pakistan are now questioning the equality of justice, currently being dispensed.
If we are to progress as a nation, we will have to follow the policy of ‘Let the heavens fall, but justice be done’.
Similarly, the doctrine of necessity should also be buried forever. Justice should be applied across-the-board and without any fear or necessity, whether it is Pervez Musharraf or Nawaz Sharif. Only then can we prosper as a nation.
DR NABEEL MANZAR Karachi