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Ex-generals warn against humiliating Musharraf

Published Apr 23, 2013 05:16am

Former President (retd) General Pervez Musharraf.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: As the complainant in the judges detention case filed another petition for the transfer of former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf to the Central Jail Adiala, ex-generals warned that the army would not tolerate if the lawyers continued pushing their former chief to the wall.

The complainant in the judges detention case through his lawyer Chaudhry Mohammad Ashraf Gujjar maintained in the petition filed with the Islamabad High Court that after dismissal of the pre-arrest bail petition of Mr Musharraf, chief commissioner Islamabad Tariq Mehmood Pirzada and inspector general of Islamabad police Bani Amin Khan had extended undue favour to the former president by declaring his Chak Shahzad farmhouse as a sub-jail.

The petition said the accused did not join the investigation despite the court directions. Mr Musharraf was a proclaimed offender and being an accused in a terrorism-related offence, he was not entitled to being kept at a place other than the Adiala Jail.

He requested the court to set aside the notification of April 20 according to which the residence of the former general has been declared as a sub-jail.

When contacted, Qamar Afzal, the counsel for Mr Musharraf, said the lawyers were dragging the former president in the courts for their own publicity.

He alleged that during the hearings the lawyers did not maintain the decorum of the court and passed unethical remarks and even used abusive language against the former president of Pakistan.

According to him, the lawyers trying to humiliate the former president wanted to get publicity by indulging in such unethical practices.

Talking to Dawn, defence analyst General (retired) Jamshed Ayaz said the military was closely monitoring the situation. He said at least nine corps commanders currently serving in the army were promoted during the Musharraf regime.

He claimed that Musharraf still enjoyed support within the army ranks and the incumbent army chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani should play a role to save Mr Musharraf from such a humiliation.

“Otherwise Musharraf’s sympathisers may intervene to rescue the former military chief,” he added.

General (retired) Faiz Ali Chishti, the president of the ex-servicemen society, was of the view that Musharraf has to face the court in case he had done something wrong but the lawyers should not be allowed to treat him as a criminal.

“An accused, in the eye of law, remains innocent until or unless he is proved guilty,” he said, adding after proving the charge against the accused courts announce its verdicts and it was executed by the law enforcement agencies and the lawyers’ role was only to assist the courts.

But in the case of former president Gen Musharraf, the black coats are trying to take the law into their own hands which is not acceptable, he further said.

There was, however, some division among the ex-servicemen over the treatment of Mr Musharraf. Brigadier (retired) Mian Mohammad Mehmood, a representative of retired army officers association, claimed that there was no sympathy for Gen Musharraf within the ex-servicemen. He said Musharraf was reaping what he had sown in 2007 when he sacked the judges of the superior judiciary.

“We were with the lawyers and the civil society during the movement for restoration of the judges and rendered sacrifices for the supremacy of the law,” said Brig Mehmood.

He, however, added that the lawyers should show decency during the appearance of Mr Musharraf in the courts to prove that they had fought for the supremacy of the law and let the court to decide the fate of the former dictator.

Former chief of the army staff General (retired) Aslam Baig, on the other hand, said the army would not tolerate these developments after a certain level.

He told Dawn that certain quarters were encouraging the lawyers against the former military chief. “Otherwise they could not dare to humiliate the former COAS who ruled the country for more than a decade,” he added.

According to him, certain elements laid a trap for Musharraf while he was abroad by giving him an impression through the social media that the whole country was waiting for him and he would be warmly welcomed upon arrival in Pakistan.

After his arrival, planned and coordinated efforts are being made to humiliate him and to provoke the military by dragging the institution into unnecessary litigation along with Gen Musharraf, he added.

“The situation may turn dangerous if the lawyers continued to humiliate the former military chief and tried to drag the institution into the courts,” he added.

According to senior analyst Ayesha Siddiqa, army had tried to stop Gen Musharraf from coming back to Pakistan but the former general ignored the advice.

She said the army would not come to his rescue because it would again destroy its image if it tried any adventure.

The army after consistent efforts is restoring its image and to some extent has achieved certain targets and it cannot undo this for the sake of Mr Musharraf, she added.

Senior journalist Imtiaz Gul also thought that army would not step into the controversy just to rescue Musharraf.

He said the violent act of black coats was itself damaging their repute in the public as it appeared that instead of the courts they were intending to punish Musharraf for his wrongdoings.

Syed Qalbe Hassan, the vice-chairman of Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the apex body of the lawyers, said the Supreme Court was examining the ‘high treason’ charges against Musharraf and senior lawyers were presenting their arguments for and against the former military ruler before the apex court.

He said ‘a few lawyers’ under their ‘hidden agenda’ were bringing a bad name to the entire legal fraternity by humiliating the former general.

They are pressuring Musharraf because they wanted him to leave the country without facing the trial, he added.

He suggested that Musharraf should be tried for 1999 coup and those generals and judges who facilitated and validated his unconstitutional steps in 1999 and in 2007 would be dealt with in accordance with the law.