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Trying Zia and his accomplices

August 20, 2009

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JAMAAT-I-ISLAMI chief Munawwar Hassan has once again demanded former president Pervez Musharraf's trial for 'high treason'. I agree with him and demand that all those who cooperated with dictators, dead and alive, must also be tried for high treason

There is no party in Pakistan which can outdo the JI in hypocrisy and misusing our religion, Islam, for obnoxious purposes. This party helped in the subversion of the 1973 Constitution by joining Ziaul Haq's cabinet and supporting him for full 11 years in his tyranny. Its party paper, Jasarat, lauded Ziaul Haq's Provisional Constitution Order and the Revival of Constitution Order.

The JI now demands restoration of the original Constitution, but it supported Ziaul Haq whole-heartedly when he mutilated and carried out arbitrary changes in the Constitution by carrying out arbitrary amendments for which he had no legal or moral justication. He was a usurper pure and simple, and the JI regarded him as its hero because he murdered Z. A. Bhutto.

The JI, which campaigned against Musharraf for being both president and army chief, supported Ziaul Haq till his death in the air crash, even though Zia was perhaps Pakistan's only dictator in the true sense of the term. His rule relied on lashes and hangings, and the JI's role was that of a sycophant. The JI also helped Ziaul Haq in the casting of bogus votes during his referendum fraud and mobilised its tremendous financial and logistic resources to ferry bogus voters to the booths.

The JI also believed that Zia had the right to censor the press because, according to the JI, views contrary to the 'ideology of Pakistan' could not be allowed to be aired. On the contrary, during the Musharraf era, the press was as free as in any democratic country -- a fact acknowledged by his worst enemies. It was also during the Zia era that the JI's student wing, IJT, armed itself and started terrorising students and teachers on campuses.

Justice cannot be selective. If Musharraf is to be tried, then we must also try Ziaul Haq's accomplices in the military and politics. Some of them have met their Lord, but many generals and politicians who helped Ziaul Haq in committing high treason on July 5, 1977 are alive and must be tried.

In this category also fall the Sharif brothers, who are a creation of martial law and Ziaul Haq's barbaric regime. It was the PML(N) government which organised an attack on the Supreme Court, and there was no dearth of 'brother judges' who conspired against the then Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah.

Therefore, in chronological order, let us first try the remnants of Ziaul Haq, including the JI, for high treason, before we try Musharraf.

JUNAID YUNUS
Karachi