The sun sets only to rise again
Will Pervez Musharraf succeed in fighting the revenge and vendetta around him and become a free man again?
Cut to the chase to cut the crap. One is all for accountability for alleged crimes and misdeeds, but only under due process by unbiased judges and where the alleged crime is taken in its entirety and without selectivity. Else natural justice is trashed and the exercise becomes a witch-hunt. That is obviously so in the treason trial against General Pervez Musharraf.
If, by the time you read this, Musharraf is out of the country on medical grounds, the government and judiciary will be off this hook. If the ‘Special Court’ supposedly ‘trying’ him for ‘treason’ has rejected his medical report and insists on his production so that he can be indicted and the ‘trial’ can proceed, the witch-hunt will go on. Chances then are that Musharraf may refuse to appear before it because he doesn’t recognize the legality of this kangaroo court and his lawyers may boycott the proceedings. Pakistan will be at a flashpoint.
The way some lawyers, analysts and anchors are twisting Musharraf’s second medical report reeks not only of bias but trial by media. The report says that he needs an angiography urgently to determine the extent of his arterial blockages and their exact locations so that a bypass operation can take place. Like scoundrels, his detractors take refuge in sham patriotism and ask: why doesn’t Musharraf trust Pakistani doctors?
I’ll tell you why. The rhythm of Musharraf’s heart is erratic or vasospastic, meaning spasms in the vessels of the heart. He has unstable angina that can occur at rest or during physical, mental or emotional stress. His heartbeat can become very erratic, slow or go very high. Angiography causes stress to the heart. When the heart beats faster it demands more blood faster. When blood rushes faster and bangs against blocked or virtually blocked pipes it causes eddies that form clots within minutes that can cause a cardiac arrest. A bypass operation has to be done then and there. Death can occur instantaneously. The last thing the doctors want is such an event happening to such a high profile person on their table, for they may not be able to cope with it and don’t want to risk it. Neither do Musharraf and his family and anyone with any sense. It is the right of every patient to get treatment where he wants and by whom. If, God forbid, something goes wrong during the angiography, do the Pakistani doctors, government, courts and prosecutors want to take the blame for it and go down in history as idiots?
Musharraf’s problem is genetic: his father died of it. If getting treatment in Pakistan when you can certainly get it abroad is a sign of patriotism, then why did Nawaz Sharif get heart operations in London and Asif Zardari in the US, including getting himself declared mad by foreign doctors more than
once? By this logic, the conclusion has to be that Sharif and Zardari are not patriotic, along with many other politicians who opted for treatment abroad. A minister of Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet says that people under trial shouldn’t be allowed to go abroad for treatment. That then rules out the Sharifs, Zardari and many others from overseas treatment in future as they have so many cases pending against them and are essentially under trial, constitutional immunity be damned. Sure Musharraf is a soldier sworn to give his life for his country, but is wasting one’s life at the altar of stupidity patriotic?
The fear that he will not return is unfounded in history. He will once he is well as he did last year knowing the trials and tribulation, persecution, harassment and torment he would have to face. Musharraf is the only one amongst our so-called leaders who had the guts to voluntarily return to his country to face his enemies. He will again. He did it to prove that he is not guilty of any of the things he is accused of. Why would he take refuge abroad until his point his proved? The question is: will his tormentors and persecutors outlast his treatment?
The treason case reeks of bias because it is based on multipleselectivity.
1. Musharraf is being tried only under Article 6-a of the Constitution while Articles 6-b and -c are being ignored.
2. With Article 6-b not being applied, aiders and abettors are being ignored, which cannot be done.
3. He is being tried retroactively under a new law that did not exist when he imposed emergency on November 3, 2007, which is a violation of natural law. The words ‘abrogation’ and ‘martial law’ are being bandied about with great abandon while Musharraf never imposed martial law nor abrogated the Constitution. He only put it in abeyance for a while. The word ‘abeyance’ was added later to Article 6 under the 18th Amendment with obvious malice aforethought but it cannot be applied retroactively.
4. The army’s countercoup of October 12, 1999 that gave birth to the November 3, 2007 emergency is being ignored while the latter alleged crime has been singled out. That is separating effect from cause: if October 12, 1999 had not been legitimized by the Supreme Court (also comprising Iftikhar Chaudhry) and indemnified by parliament, November 3, 2007 would not have happened. That legitimization and indemnity have been set aside by the 18th Amendment too, so how can they ignore October 12, 1999? To protect some ‘holy cows’?
5. The ‘Special Court’ leaves one askance because of the suspected bias of the judges against Pervez Musharraf. It was established in violation of the Constitution because the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court cannot be asked to give a short list of judges for the government to choose from.
The treason case is bogus too because it stands on the wobbly pillars of two highly suspect judgments or orders of the Supreme Court:
The November 3, 2007 ‘order’ of a purported seven-member Supreme Court bench headed by former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry declaring that the imposition of emergency a few hours earlier was illegal. Justice Yasmin Abbasey, wrongly removed by Iftikhar Chaudhry and his restored fellow judges, says that the order is a fake and a forgery and she has filed a reference with the President against it. When she asked the registrar of the Sindh High Court for a copy of the purported order, he replied in writing the next day as he had been instructed to inform her that such an order does not exist with the court. The Chief Justice conveniently forgot that he too had taken oath under Musharraf’s first PCO. How hypocritical can you get but if you are Iftikhar Chaudhry you can break all bounds of hypocrisy I suppose. The inescapable conclusion is that they found the first PCO legal because it saved their jobs and the second PCO illegal because they lost their jobs. They removed more judges of the superior judiciary for taking oath under PCO II than Musharraf had under the emergency. It was the day of the long knives, a day of judicial genocide.
The July 31, 2009 order of the Supreme Court also under Iftikhar Chaudhry ( who else?) is illegal too because the Constitution does not give the Supreme Court jurisdiction to ‘order’ the federal government to start a treason trial against anyone. In so doing, the Supreme Court threw the Constitution out of the window because only the federal government in cabinet can decide to initiate a treason trial under Article 6. In more than implying that the General is guilty of treason, the Supreme Court threw due process out of the window too because they trashed the presumption of innocence. Worse, it was another case of two judges on to which Iftikhar Chaudhry and his bench voluntarily added on the treason trial based on the November 3, 2007 emergency imposition.
This government’s excuse that it had to initiate the trial because the Supreme Court had ordered it to do so is poppycock. The previous government felt no such compulsion because it had a better sense of selfsurvival. How can they obey an illegal order? Actually, the government is now trying to pass the buck to the court and the court is passing it back or trying to duck it.
In her reference, Justice Yasmin Abbasey says that her removal and that of over 100 other superior court judges by Iftikhar Chaudhry and 13 other judges of the Supreme Court for taking oath under Musharraf’s second Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) was wrong because due process was ignored and the judges were not afforded their fundamental right of being heard or of appeal or review that the Constitution guarantees. She says that at least two if not three of the seven judges were not present in Islamabad on November 3, 2007. The signature of one judge doesn’t look as if it is his. The so-called bench didn’t meet in the Supreme Court building either. Were the current Supreme Court to throw out this fake order and the July 31, 2009 order to initiate a treason trial against Musharraf, as it should, the bogus treason case will collapse and Nawaz Sharif would be off the hook. They will do him a favour.
And importantly, it is not treason to impose emergency; the Constitution allows it. It is not treason to sack judges under emergency. If it is, then physically attacking the Supreme Court building and forcing the Chief Justice out of office after purchasing some of his fellow judges is also high treason and Nawaz Sharif and his aiders and abettors should be tried for treason too.
Rescinding the fake November 3, 2007 order of the Supreme Court will have certain consequences, like the 2008 elections becoming questionable, but that can be handled under the ‘past and closed transaction’ principle, like many members of the ruling PML-N taking oath as ministers
from a supposedly illegal president. Is that treason? We cannot wind the hands of the clock back entirely and bring the State to a grinding halt, not that the ineptness of this and the past government haven’t. The Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Dogar will become legal and all the judges of the superior judiciary wrongly thrown out by the restored Chief Justice and other such judges will be reinstated. Those who have reached retirement age should be retired but their lapsed salaries given to them and their honour restored while the good amongst them should be retained.
It seems that the current Supreme Court is recognizing the invalidity of the judgment sacking these judges because two of the judges thus sacked are being considered for appointment to the Balochistan High Court.
The government should have itself set up the Special Court to hold the treason trial and not under advice from the then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but it did just that. The impartiality of the three judges on it is highly questionable, as is the manner in which one of them was made a High Court judge. It will also prevent the countercoup by the army against Nawaz Sharif’s coup against it on October 12, 1999 from coming into the equation thus saving Sharif, Iftikhar Chaudhry, many generals and politicians from being dragged through the courts. The country can then get on with saving itself.
Nawaz Sharif’s government has painted itself into a corner and created a conundrum for the army. If the Supreme Court overturns these two wrong orders or judgments, the paint around Nawaz Sharif will recede and he can continue trying to negotiate with Pakistan’s enemies and the army can try and limit the damage as much as it can.
General Pervez Musharraf and his treason trial is a bogey to divert attention from the government’s incapacity to address the multifarious real issues afflicting Pakistan: a declining economy, rampant terrorism, revenge, and further degradation of the army to prevent future intervention caused by government failures and stupidities that endanger the State. Such shenanigans work only for a while. When the dust settles on the trial, the government’s and the system’s failures will come into sharp focus again. Next will come the eruption spewing rivers of humanity on fire. Wait for March and Tahir ul Qadri.
Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif - patriotic Pakistanis who underwent
heart operations abroad.