"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: AliSyed
Full Name: Ali Syed
User since: 7/Jul/2013
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Don't dig….


When in 1999 Nawaz Sharif dithered inexplicably on sacking Musharraf following Kargil, he began a series of actions that only blighted this nation and his personal self. A stand-off pregnant with the possibility that either man may strike against the other ensued. Nawaz Sharif procrastinated endlessly and provided Musharraf the opportunity to regain his balance. Musharraf struck on October 12, in response to a botched attempt by Mian Sahib to finally remove him.


Musharraf’s coup was an aberration; there being no earthly reason for him to call a coup other than preserving his position as the army chief. It derailed democracy; stunted political growth, and disenfranchised the political spectrum of the society by forcing Nawaz Sharif, and Benazir soon after, into exile. Within the military it wasn't a popular coup; though, once it occurred it slowly engendered hope and promise against the dismal performance of the  government that Musharraf dislodged. In his nine years Musharraf did well on economy with a strong team, but it all came at the cost of another inevitable estrangement between personalities and institutions. Today Musharraf finds himself in the dock as a payback for that excess; at least that should have been the case. It is not.  


The original sin, the October 12, 1999 coup, which was universally abhorred, stands condoned, but the November 03, 2007 Emergency is what will not go unpunished. Strange ways. The November 03 emergency was a bona fide Constitutional measure under Article 232; but it must be brought to book because some judges refused to take a new oath after having already been tainted with an earlier oath under a PCO. One could question Musharraf’s judgment, or intent, but not his right to impose Emergency; and judgment remains a matter of opinion while intent is difficult to stand the test of legal evidence.


Mian Sahib, given his personality, hates confrontation; his previous proclivity for the same proscribed considerably with unpleasant experiences in his previous tenures. Nawaz Sharif would have known that he, Musharraf and Chaudhry Iftikhar, the former Chief Justice, were all tied into a triangular relationship around events that occurred in 1999, and after, and a recall on one would invariably mean bringing the other two into perspective with all the attendant fall-out - mostly adversarial and negative. A recall, that comes in the manner of an ill-timed trial, will bring alive the accompanying din of vengeance. Yet, he and his government have in hand a hot potato that they rather not have touched in the first place.


Perhaps, he has his Minister of Interior, Chaudhry Nisar, and some expedient politics, to blame for the ensuing discomfort. When seriously deficient administrative measures caused a most unfortunate mayhem and loss of life in the Ashura incident in Rawalpindi, the government fell back to the most infamous political tactic of introducing a diversion sure to take the focus away from a tardy failure. Out of nowhere, and having stayed quiet all this while on the issue, the government in its wisdom decided to bring Musharraf to justice. The Ashura incident since has long been forgotten. What we have instead is another challenge.


Mian Sahib is knee deep in the quagmire that is terrorism; tanked-out economy; impossible and deficient energy state; inflation and poverty that now are monstrosities; a nation that stands so fragmented along its various fault-lines that it seems on the verge to implode; sans direction, possibly without a vision, dysfunctional, smacking of incapacity to get out of the hole that it finds itself in. Instead he digs, and the hole only gets deeper, insurmountable.


This is what a Musharraf trial will deliver. A commonly held belief among the masses - and the upper crust one percent is no masses, please - that by indicting Musharraf the civilians will have evened out with the military. To the masses, Rule of Law is a farce of the elites that has no relevance to their lives. To the vocal elites, it is an opportunity to flag Rule of law as a divine principle that in reality they will never let touch their personal or collective lives. The veneer of morality is shamelessly superficial. Peel a layer, and you will soon be confronted by the argument, ‘but was not a civilian Prime Minister hanged?’. Right, he was, and Pakistan is poorer for it. But does that justify a repeat of the heinousness of our collective animalistic instincts; again. Who are we? And what games are we indulging in? We are already having trouble qualifying as people to the rest of the world. For heaven’s sake, know what is right; and even more importantly, when is right.


When the courts in the previous government brought many a retired general before it on various charges, the army leadership was internally castigated by both the serving and the retired community for abandoning their own to the travesties of disrespect and dishonor that were wrought in the name of Rule of Law and civilian supremacy. To a military mind, appearing before courts – any court including their own - is an indignity; one simply is not meant to err. Musharraf’s trial will rekindle that sense of indignity especially when in the parallel civilian structures - that bay for Musharraf’s blood - there is nothing of moral capital to show. Inevitably, bringing Musharraf to justice may have already forced military’s hand. For the moment Musharraf lies sick with the army, but he has also walked into the safety of army’s hands. Those who sought army’s position on the issue have it in no uncertain terms. This is a risky place. Whatever institutional balance seemed to have been restored lies at the cusp of another vulnerability. Such is the fragility of this governing structure of ours.


Why may the Rule of Law be established only through one man alone? Is it not a pervasive need across the spectrum? What of the rampant corruption; parking of ill gotten money in accounts abroad; failure to pay taxes; mis-governance; policies that only target to benefit the chosen few of the politico-economic clans? These too are crimes against humanity that remain unattended. Musharraf erred, big time, on October 12, 1999, but that isn’t even under consideration. Instead what we have is a recourse to selective justice. Deal whatever way you may with it here-on, Pakistan would have regressed.


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