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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: newstoyou
Full Name: Adnan Khan
User since: 3/Jul/2013
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Musharraf Treason and Default Trial of Army


Sumera Mirza


As the treason case has drawn closer, politicians have grouped among defenders and criticizers. A division amongst the political parties on the Musharraf treason case means a shift in support of the former army chief. Many are of the view that the objectives behind this trial by the PML-N is to make the army subservient to the political government as once this institution is conquered, then the leadership of the party will be able to govern the country the way it wants. Whereas, to many, the all-powerful army seems as being reluctant to witness its former chief suffer the indignity of being tried by a civilian court.


Defenders from the army emphasize that certain elements laid a trap for Musharraf while he was abroad by giving him an impression through social media that Pakistan was waiting for him and he would be warmly welcomed on his return from self-exile. Moreover, after his arrival in Pakistan, planned and coordinated efforts were made to "humiliate" him and to provoke the military by dragging the institution into unnecessary litigation along with Musharraf.


Whereas earlier in April, a staff college delegation met the Chairman of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Defence, who praised the role of the armed forces, saying the valiant men in khaki were rendering tremendous sacrifices in the war against terrorism and extremism and fighting the battle for the future of this country. While agreeing to the views of military officers he added that we are all proud of professionalism of our armed forces and in the constitution, judiciary and armed forces is a national institution, which should not be subjected to any kind of criticism.


Putting their weight behind the ex-chief, the retired military officers said if a voting was held, 90 percent of the army would have voted in favour of Musharraf. They see it as victimization and political revenge as “the government wants to pardon Musharraf once he is convicted. The officers said a fair trial should be held as Musharraf had constitutional immunity during his presidential period, arguing that the Article 6 of the Constitution cannot be implemented. Meanwhile, the opposition leader in National Assembly urged the army to explain its position on Pervez Musharraf’s recent statement, contending that the silence can be misconstrued as consent.


As far as the international media is concerned there is a strong belief that the former army chief was eager to return to the comfort of his home country where he knew his army would protect him and therefore he threatened the political government with reaction from the army. Notwithstanding the fact he had lost the popular support among the armed forces when he was forced to take off his uniform in late 2007 and later quit the presidency in 2008, he is said to be having soft corner for him within the ranks of the military. He is remembered as a brash general who would even stand up for a junior officer, which in contrast did not stop his generals for opposing him for his peace overtures to India or extra concessions to the US. Above all this does not mean that the senior commanders would approve of his severe sentencing or being dragged into court. Since his arrival in Pakistan and the initiation of various court cases, he has received all kinds of support and protection from the army. However, the current set of generals would like to defend him cautiously and not at the cost of risking the army's reputation which was rebuilt after a lot of effort.


Now the ball is in military’s court how to tackle Musharraf’s defence as the treason case is a defining moment in the civil-military relations after former army chief’s proclamation of army backing him. Musharraf’s latest statement over army’s support for him in treason case has ignited a whole new debate, whose decision of returning to Pakistan has been proved disastrous as he was not only barred to run in May’s general election but actually hit with a series of serious allegations dating back to his nine-year tenure. These include murder charge over the assassination in 2007 of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, as well as charges over the death of Nawab Akbar Bugti, a deadly military action against militants in Red Mosque and the detention of judges. Although persistent rumors became no reality that a deal would be struck to let him leave Pakistan before facing the courts to avoid a clash between the army and the government. Even then case puts the government on possible collision course with the all-powerful army where, in an effort to enlist international support, Musharraf’s team have stepped up their media campaign and urged London and Washington to intervene for support.


Here the prevailing perception is that this sudden enthusiasm for trial is not really meant to put Gen Musharraf in the dock, but a motivated conspiracy by the politicians to harm the institution of army as it does put the army on trial by default.  Hence few questions arose like “has somebody calculated the reaction and consequences thereof? What message are we sending to the Army rank and file? Already being depicted as a victim of personal vendetta and vindictiveness, even those who have no real sympathy for Musharraf are questioning the need and the timing to prosecute him now. Was this the right time for the government to open up a new front? In all the senses Pakistan needs its armed forces,to combat and rule over Pakistan’s external along with internal challenges, being a reputation that particularly wards off adventurism from potential enemies.


Freedom of speech undoubtedly is necessary but not on the reputation cost of course. A liberal media policy that helped to open up a new epoch of information revolution in Pakistan was actually introduced by the former army chief. Unprecedented and unparalleled development process of media started in his regime has today reached at such height of freedom of expression that is unequaled. (ENDS)


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