IT was a moment foretold many times over but nevertheless came as a surprise. On Thursday morning, former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf headed to the Islamabad High Court for his bail application in the judges’ detention case. Perhaps he expected a positive response — a day earlier he had been given bail in the Benazir Bhutto murder case. But he was in for a disappointment: the IHC rejected his application and ordered that Musharraf be arrested but the former chief of army staff’s security personnel whisked him out of the court premises and rushed him to his farmhouse.

It is hard to believe that he had not foreseen this. The lukewarm reception he received on his return; the rejection of his nomination papers from one constituency after another; the disdain with which the media and civil society reacted to his return even as political parties maintained a silence — indeed, it had been evident that “everyone ended up finding his place in the world, everyone except him”. If nothing else, as a man who had been part of the political system for so long, Musharraf should have realised that no guarantees — from any quarter — could have ensured how he was treated upon return. He could simply have recalled the fate of his ‘deal’ with Benazir to understand this. But now that he has miscalculated once more, Musharraf — who has time and again said that he would abide by the law — needs to toe the legal line. He should hand himself over and court arrest; anything short of that will reflect badly on him. Indeed, the jokes that were circulating about the commando who ran away on Thursday should be enough to convince him that the honourable course lies in surrendering before the law rather than defying it.

At the same time, it is necessary to caution the judiciary. With the history of the courts’ clash with the dictator still fresh in our memory, the former should be careful as the cases against the latter are heard. Not for a moment should anyone be able to accuse the courts of pursuing vengeance rather than justice. The general has already been judged by history. Had he been allowed to contest the elections and been delivered a sound defeat, there would have been little that the law could have added to this. Indeed, the people’s verdict would have sealed his fate far more effectively than any legal order that still runs the risk of making a martyr out of him.

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Comments (28)

Ijaz
April 19, 2013 5:38 am
Unfortunately, judges seem to be too "Honorable" to understand it - though Musharraf will be on his way out :)
Imran Ali
April 19, 2013 5:44 am
It is very surprising that Musharraf is doing all this on consultation of those people who are know losers. I think if he uses his own mind, it wont be that bad
Farhan
April 19, 2013 5:52 am
"Not for a moment should anyone be able to accuse the courts of pursuing vengeance rather than justice" - too late for this since the court is obviously running a vendetta.
M Rafique
April 19, 2013 6:09 am
Festival moments for media and so called civil socities
Javaid Bashir
April 19, 2013 6:11 am
Sound editorial. I have already said in my comments on tjhe face book that judiciary should be cautios in its approach and not lat him become a martyr. Given the history and bad blood between the two there is every likelihood that jusdiciary's actions will be perceived in different light. The general should get a fair trial in every case against him . The due process of law must be maintained. It was coming that his bail could be cancelled and arrest warrants be issued. But all these offences are still bailable offences.. the S>C will grant the bail. We must not clsash on these matters. He should bre allowed to contest elections as there is no conviction against him, mere allegations are not enough basis for the rejection of papers. Apart from criminal acts he still has clear and lean record. Morally and legally there is no ground to stop him from contesting elections .Let us be fair to all the candidates. Javaid Bashir Lahore
Ahmed
April 19, 2013 6:13 am
Finally, Pakistan is moving towards closing the dictatorial chapter.
Mohammad Saleem
April 19, 2013 6:20 am
Martyr or not, Musharraf should face music. This will put other would-be usurpers on notice that similar disdain and disgraceful fate await them if they try to follow in the former footsteps
Khizr
April 19, 2013 7:17 am
A nameless editorial..
Saeed
April 19, 2013 8:11 am
At first place who had stopped police to arrest him if it wanted to. Media rhetoric that he has ran away runs contrary to the TV seen itself, when he was seen escorted to his home by the Police and rangers themselves.
M. S. Alvi
April 19, 2013 8:44 am
The thinking behind this article is true. Musharraf should be left alone and allowed to run in elections. If people reject him, let be it. The drama being played is a big shame.
peace
April 19, 2013 9:01 am
This is the fate of all dictators, they never realize that people do not love from their heart - disgrace is their destiny, be it Zia or Mobarak or Gadafi et al.
Zak
April 19, 2013 10:01 am
Remember all the good musharaf did for Pakistan and it was a far better time than the last 5 years. Musharaf is in politics and I hope he keeps his commando spirit and battles the legal process. The more vindictive the judiciary, the more the public will see the injustise from the legal fraternity. Most likely, nawab and the pro Taliban parties are pushing their cronies in the judiciary to humiliate musharaf rather than try him with sincerety. Enough is enough.!
Zak
April 19, 2013 10:03 am
Musharaf will bounce back, he should leave a committee to run APML affairs until cleared.
Iqbal
April 19, 2013 11:11 am
early conclusions
Sayed Inam Ali
April 19, 2013 12:06 pm
if the people of Pakistan desire to have equal rights for all than Musharraf must be brought to book and it might open doors to common for justice because at present the influential treat themselves above the law.
Zafar Malik
April 19, 2013 2:01 pm
Cases against him are all politically motivated. He did a great job as President. Dawn is expected to be more balanced and objective but I am disappointed.
Kalidas
April 19, 2013 2:31 pm
I wonder if this drama is a finale to a forced chaos in the making before the elections and some smart general to say what the heck is going on. Time for a military takeover. Or maybe politics has reached much maturity for this to be a non-event.
Syed Ahmed
April 19, 2013 2:36 pm
Nawaz Sharif states that Musharraf should be tried as a common criminal ? what is special about Sharif and associates? Musharraf didn't rob the nation nad made them into paupers.
gangadin
April 19, 2013 2:57 pm
I would love to know what this guy is smoking. Does he really think that he is electable? Did he study Pakistani politics? I think his career is over in disgrace. A corrupt, coward and illegal commando.
Assad
April 19, 2013 4:51 pm
No charges of corruption stand against him, which in Pakistani political landscape is a unique case altogether. How is he a coward? That he left Pakistan after giving up on government is cowardice? He is more of a commando than you can ever dream of becoming or understanding. He will always be remembered for his legacy as a straight talking, personally honest Pakistani who was not afraid to face the courts.
Arshad Jamil
April 19, 2013 4:53 pm
A very poor sub-standard editorial. No surprise, for Dawn to also follow the band wagon, and try to settle some score. Looks like, that it was written in haste. It needed a scholarly touch, some history, some of his deeds and misdeeds, some reflection, activism of Juditiary, and flaundering of constitution in 4 hiurs by ZAB and all others. Did not expect this from DAWN of Altaf Hussain, proclaiming " Batil sey dabney......" Dawn is only helping to get the head of Musharaf. Go, rejoice.
imran
April 19, 2013 5:04 pm
most unbiased opinion, that i've seen on the media, but still a little late for some of the actions by parties are already in progress like vendetta
john
April 19, 2013 5:34 pm
His Karma is Catching up mate,
Bharat
April 19, 2013 6:05 pm
How did this man ever get to the top?
MOHAMMAD
April 19, 2013 6:14 pm
you are wrong. you should mind your language. MUSHARAF IS A BRAVE COMMANDO WHO HAS THE CAPACITY TO FACE THE COURTS BRAVELY. HE COULD HAVE DECIDED NOT TO COME BACK BUT HE CAME, WHICH HE PROVES THAT HE WAS NOT CORRUPT OR COWARD. DO NOT WORRY THAT IS A GOOD PRECEDENT IN PAK HISTORY THAT EVERY BODY IS EQUAL BEFORE LAW.
MOHAMMAD
April 19, 2013 6:18 pm
COURTS SHOULD NOT INDULGE IN POLICY OF REVENGE. HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO RUN IN THE ELECTIONS AND LET PEOPLE DECIDE. LET SUPREME COURT GIVE HIM BAIL AND HE BE ALLOWED TO CONTEST ELECTIONS. TO ERR IS HUMAN AND TO FORGIVE IS DIVINE. LET S NOT FORGET THAT HE WAS A NON-CORRUPT SINCERE PRESIDENT.
MOHAMMAD
April 19, 2013 6:22 pm
WE SHOULD RESPECT THE DECISION OF JUDUCIARY . WE HOPE TYHAT COURTS SHOULD NOT INDULGE IN POLICY OF REVENGE. HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO RUN IN THE ELECTIONS AND LET PEOPLE DECIDE. LET SUPREME COURT GIVE HIM BAIL AND HE BE ALLOWED TO CONTEST ELECTIONS. TO ERR IS HUMAN AND TO FORGIVE IS DIVINE. LET S NOT FORGET THAT HE WAS A NON-CORRUPT SINCERE PRESIDENT.
MOHAMMAD
April 19, 2013 6:23 pm
WE SHOULD RESPECT THE DECISION OF JUDICIARY . WE HOPE THAT COURTS SHOULD NOT INDULGE IN POLICY OF REVENGE. HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO RUN IN THE ELECTIONS AND LET PEOPLE DECIDE. LET SUPREME COURT GIVE HIM BAIL AND HE BE ALLOWED TO CONTEST ELECTIONS. TO ERR IS HUMAN AND TO FORGIVE IS DIVINE. LET US NOT FORGET THAT HE WAS A NON-CORRUPT SINCERE PRESIDENT.
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