A Fair Deal for the Gen­eral

Southasia - - Comment -

Ever since Gen. Pervez Mushar­raf re­turned to Pak­istan, he has been caught in a mi­asma of mis­in­for­ma­tion that has been cre­ated by the me­dia to fur­ther cer­tain neg­a­tive per­cep­tions about him. The courts are do­ing their bit to queer the pitch. While there has been a huge out­cry to in­voke Ar­ti­cle 6 against Gen. Mushar­raf for al­legedly com­mit­ting high trea­son, deep in the ech­e­lons of power, it is well un­der­stood that this would open the myth­i­cal Pan­dora’s Box and would en­tail rolling of a good many im­por­tant heads.

Per­haps Mushar­raf was not ready for the dis­il­lu­sion­ment that he now faces. The very me­dia he had freed has turned against him, vo­cif­er­ously ap­plaud­ing the treat­ment the ju­di­ciary is met­ing out to him in its crass vin­dic­tive­ness. There is a well-or­ga­nized anti-Mushar­raf cam­paign that is on th­ese days through news sto­ries, panel dis­cus­sions and TV tick­ers.

Of late, the le­gal term ‘suo moto’ (mean­ing on its own mo­tion) has al­most be­come a house­hold word in Pak­istan, thanks to the fre­quent ac­tions taken un­der the suo moto pro­vi­sion of the law by the su­pe­rior ju­di­ciary. How­ever, this same ju­di­ciary has not both­ered to take suo moto ac­tion against the late Ak­bar Bugti’s son for an­nounc­ing head money of Rs.1 bil­lion and land for any­one who kills Pervez Mushar­raf. As far as the ju­di­ciary is con­cerned, it ap­pears as if any­one who has a per­sonal grouse against an­other per­son (in this in­stance Bugti’s son be­lieves Mushar­raf was in­stru­men­tal in hav­ing his fa­ther killed) can take the law in his own hands and be­come his own judge, jury and ex­e­cu­tioner.

It is ob­vi­ous that the re­tired army gen­eral has taken the demo­cratic route a bit too late in the day. He has also not fo­cused much on or­ga­niz­ing his po­lit­i­cal party into a well-oiled po­lit­i­cal ma­chine. He would have done well to set up the APML on prac­ti­cal lines even from afar by ap­point­ing a cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee back home which would have man­aged or­ga­ni­za­tional af­fairs. He could have taken in sea­soned politi­cians on the cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive who would have han­dled af­fairs of the party in his ab­sence and, once he ar­rived in Pak­istan, he would have a work­ing setup to fur­ther build on.

An im­por­tant ques­tion be­ing asked is about Mushar­raf’s demo­cratic bonafides. He had once said that democ­racy was sim­ply a label and if that was what was needed, he was will­ing to hold elec­tions. Does he still think the same way or has he sud­denly turned into a true blue demo­crat who has done away with his mil­i­tary mind­set and has all the in­ten­tions to en­ter the po­lit­i­cal main­stream via the demo­cratic route? Fur­ther­more, if Mushar­raf has now turned into a demo­crat, then how does he de­fend his ear­lier ac­tions, such as com­ing down with a heavy hand on the ju­di­ciary, im­pos­ing Emer­gency in the coun­try when there was no need for such an ex­treme mea­sure or sign­ing the National Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Or­der (NRO)?

What­ever the case, the good that Mushar­raf did for Pak­istan must be taken due cog­nizance of and ac­knowl­edged by those who were the great­est ben­e­fi­cia­ries of his ac­tions and no less the me­dia. The gen­eral has cer­tainly com­mit­ted many mis­takes in his time but his pos­i­tives and good deeds are far greater and need to be rightly re­mem­bered.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal

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