De­cline and Fall of the Gen­eral

The stage is set for Pervez Mushar­raf to be tried for the killing of Be­nazir Bhutto

India Today - - INSIDE - By Mehmal Sar­fraz

The stage is set for Pervez Mushar­raf to be tried for the killing of Be­nazir Bhutto.

High on his pop­u­lar­ity on so­cial me­dia ( Face­book ‘ likes’ and Twit­ter fol­low­ers) and mis­led by party work­ers that Pak­ista­nis wanted him to come back, Gen­eral ( re­tired) Pervez Mushar­raf re­turned to a coun­try he once ruled.

That act of hubris has landed him in the dock for mur­der. On Au­gust 20, Mushar­raf was in­dicted by an an­titer­ror­ism court in Rawalpindi for the De­cem­ber 27, 2007 as­sas­si­na­tion of two- time prime min­is­ter Be­nazir Bhutto. “He was charged with mur­der, crim­i­nal con­spir­acy for mur­der and fa­cil­i­ta­tion of mur­der,” Pub­lic Prose­cu­tor Chaudhry Azhar told AFP.

Mushar­raf’s farm­house in Chak Shahzad on Is­lam­abad’s out­skirts was de­clared a sub- jail by the courts. Gossip is, he lives a com­fort­able life there. He watches TV, reads news­pa­pers, smokes cigars, drinks Scotch ev­ery evening and is in touch with the world. Pak­istani po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers have never seen such lux­ury.

Time is an­other lux­ury the gen­eral has. His in­dict­ment means a trial will now start, but it may take years to con­clude, de­pend­ing on fac­tors such as the in­ter­est of the govern­ment, ju­di­ciary and the army. While it is un­prece­dented for a for­mer head of state, es­pe­cially a for­mer mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor, to ap­pear in the dock for crimes he may have com­mit­ted, Mushar­raf’s in­dict­ment seems sym­bolic rather than con­crete. Some be­lieve that once Chief Jus­tice Iftikhar


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