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Musharraf’s trial for treason

July 02, 2013

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.