Musharraf: Destination Unknown


By Asif Jamal


Pakistan’s former President and head of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) political party Pervez Musharraf salutes as he arrives to unveil his party manifesto for the forthcoming general election at his residence in Islamabad April 15, 2013. REUTERS/Mian Khursheed

Asif Jamal

President Parvez Musharraf, a man who once was the iron-hand and has seen nothing but the best in his life and has enjoyed power and respect for most part of his life, is now experiencing the other side of the politics that normally a man of his kind of background and credentials doesn’t get to see. 

No doubt, the valor of an army man brought him back to the soil that earned him the two most sought after salutations i.e, general and president.  He was living a lavish life abroad but he landed back to seek the power again and of course to get his name clear from the charges against him but somehow his calculations botched and his aspiration of becoming an democratically elected president washed away when the election commission rejected his application and made him ineligible to contest in the upcoming general elections.  This was the first blow to him as earlier he was thinking that he had very little to prepare his core team for the elections but regardless, he may have not thought if he would ever be nullified to be a part of the such elections that may earn him power democratically but rejection of his election papers destroyed him calculations forever.

This was as it is a shock to those who followed President Musharraf and his ideology until the biggest one came after when the anti-terrorism court rejected the extension of his bail and held him in judicial remand in his home in Chak Shahzad, making his own place a jail.

Many analysts were criticizing President Musharraf’s own action that he was the first-man for nine years, why is he still interested to be the president?  He should have stayed overseas and continued the lectures but he never could have settled so his lust of power or love of service actually brought him down where dirty politics was waiting on him.  So he became victim of his own craving.

However, the official statement to this effect from President Musharraf’s spokesman for North America stipulates their side of reasoning as:  “It is a travesty that General Musharraf, who at one time led the Global War against Terrorism, currently is a strong voice against terrorism on the world stage, has survived 11 terrorist attempts on his life and is presently facing specific and credible terrorist threats, is being charged as a perpetuator of terrorism against Pakistan Judges, that were allegedly detained in 2007. The allegations leveled against the former president in the Judges Detention case are false and politically motivated. The alleged offense is bail-able and we expect the courts to conform to the rule of law and precedence and provide immediate relief.”

“These pre-meditated acts by segments of malicious judiciary, unscrupulous lawyers and fictitious petitioners are a blatant attempt to deny the People of Pakistan the option to consider choosing former President Musharraf as their elected leader in the upcoming elections.  The coordinated manner in which liberal and progressive voices are being muzzled in Pakistan should alert the world; the stage is being set in the upcoming elections in Pakistan, through a combined effort of judicial activism and militant threat, to propel right leaning political parties, which are sympathetic to Taliban and vicious extremist organizations, to win the elections.”

“If this is not true, then why is it that out of more than 23000 candidates that received nominations to participate in the upcoming elections, General Pervez Musharraf is the only candidate whose candidacy was accepted by the Election Commission Returning Officer in Chitral (NA-32), but was subsequently rejected by the Election Tribunal in Peshawar High Court, based on the unlawful presumption of guilt. The leaders of the free world must act immediately to stop this farce.”

Well, that is President Musharraf’s camp voice but that does not match up with others in the power and somewhat neutral corridors as the charges against him are gravely intense and this could cost him high but then again, his body language eulogizes that he is not afraid of any outcome and is ready to face the music to any extent.  Apparently he had calculated all corners to the effect prior to arriving back but looks like he overlooked some areas of concern and that became his week point.  

So muuch talk about Article 6, but interestingly, there are two Article 6, one that obtained in 1999 and 2007 and another one changed by the last parliament and so much to say, the first didn’t contain the word ‘abeyance’, the second one does. 

On the other hand, it also looks like that power against him were not really expecting him to actually return and perhaps took his statement for a statement but his landing proved to be a step as if he does not fear anyone any anything.  Even when the court rejected his bail and ordered to book him on terrorism charges, no police man came forward to arrest him so he was driven back to his house which was later declared as jail. 

The case in process against him can be detrimental but his arrest and extreme case such as high treason, followed by attacks on upcoming general elections candidates in various constituencies are currently creating an uncertain situation in the country as if the far-flung effect could even cause a delay or cancellation of the election until further notice but only time can tell what it entails for the future.

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