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Former military ruler retired Gen Pervez Musharraf. — File Photo
Former military ruler retired Gen Pervez Musharraf. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: A group of military officers protested on Friday against what they called humiliating treatment being meted out to former military ruler retired Gen Pervez Musharraf.

A delegation of 75 officers from Command and Staff College, Quetta, led by Col Saqib Ali Cheema, met Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Defence Production Mushahid Hussain Sayed at the Parliament House and expressed concern over the arrest of the former president.

“The military officers were of the opinion that under the constitution the armed forces could not be criticised,” the source said.

Senator Hussain agreed with the views of the military officers and said: “We are all proud of professionalism of our armed forces and in the constitution judiciary and armed forces are national institutions which should not be subject to any kind of criticism.”

He told Dawn that the officers had asked him if there was anything in the constitution which allowed anyone to humiliate any institution. He said he had told them that the constitution had no provision to let any institution or any person humiliate any other institution.

Gen Musharraf returned to the country on March 23 to take part in active politics and contest the May 11 elections, but his nomination papers were rejected from the four constituencies selected by him. He is also facing two cases -- detention of judges in 2007 and assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto -- and has been detained in his Chak Shahzad farmhouse which has been declared a sub-jail.

Senator Hussain praised the role of the armed forces and said valiant men in khaki were rendering tremendous sacrifices in the war against terrorism and extremism and fighting the battle for the country. “Pakistan today is a vibrant democracy and there are multiple power centres playing an effective role in strengthening democracy and democratic traditions in the country,” he was quoted as saying at the meeting.

It may be mentioned that some retired military generals have also criticised the way Gen Musharraf is being treated.

During the meeting with military officers, Senator Hussain talked about the proactive role being played by the upper house, including policymaking in areas of defence and on defence-related issues. The Senate, he said, was a representative body of all federating units and its role had become very curial in this regard.

An animated question-answer session followed the briefing and souvenirs were exchanged. Some of the questions were about civilian vision of civil-military relations and national defence strategy.

The military officers asked why education had not been given top priority in policymaking and what were the reasons for lack of legislation about terrorism.

Senator Hussain said: “Unfortunately certain sections of political elites did not see education as top priority.”

About the lack of legislation to curb terrorism he said it was up to the legislature, government and judiciary, but unfortunately parliament had failed on this front.