ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution reiterating its earlier resolution of January 23, 2012 through which the Upper House of parliament called upon the federal government to arrest former dictator Pervez Musharraf and to file a treason case against him under Article 6 for abrogating the Constitution. It also called for the removal of his portrait from all public buildings.
The resolution proposed by Senator Farhatullah Babar was moved by Senator Ishaq Dar of the PML-N after the rules of procedure were relaxed on a motion moved by Senator Farhatullah Babar to take it up urgently.
The resolution adopted on Friday reiterated the resolution adopted on January 23, 2012 calling upon the government to arrest Musharraf on his return to Pakistan and to initiate treason case against him for subverting the Constitution and sacking judges.
The caretaker government faced the wrath of the senators from all parties for declaring the residence of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf as a sub-jail instead of sending him to jail, saying it was a joke with the nation.
The senators from all parties staged a token walkout from the Senate in protest against the absence of caretaker interior Minister Malik Habib from the Senate.
At the outset ‚ the Senators expressed annoyance over the absence of the interior minister because he was summoned by the chairman to appear before the House and answer the questions regarding law and order situation prevailing in the country.
The chair suspended the proceeding for 15 minutes and asked the interior minister to come to the House. On resumption, the House was informed that the minister is in a meeting with the prime minister about the law and order situation. Upon this all members staged a token walkout from the House.
Senator Dr Babar Awan said the absence of the interior minister from the House is a violation of Article 91 of the Constitution. He also dubbed the arrest of General Musharraf as eyewash.
Chairman senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari also took exception of the interior minister’s absence from the House. “This house where the security situation could be discussed cannot tolerate the flouting of its order,” he said while directing the caretaker minister for water and power to ask the interior minister to come to the house.
Later, interior minister Malik Habib came to the Senate just prior to the prorogation of the House and declared that Pervez Musharraf has been arrested and sent to a judicial lock-up. The residence of Pervez Musharraf has been declared as a sub-jail, he added.
He said for the first time in our history a dictator has been arrested and we have also got a two-day remand of Pervez Musharraf.The statement irked the senators who lodged a strong protest. Mian Raza Rabbani who rejected the excuse of the caretakers for not sending the former dictator to jail said this attitude showed duality of law in the country.
Rabbani asked whether the houses of former prime ministers — Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif - were declared sub-jails. ‘It was a mockery of orders of the high court as well as the law,” he said.
Senator Zahid Khan of the ANP was of the opinion that Musharraf should also be treated the way Nawaz Sharif was kept in solitary confinement.
Syed Zafar Ali Shah of the PML-N said that there was a helipad in the farmhouse of the former dictator and it is feared that some hidden forces might help him escape on a helicopter. “Musharraf should be sent to Adiyala jail,” he added.
Senator Farhatullah Babar said that by fleeing from the court on Thursday in a cowardly manner Musharraf had brought disgrace not only onto himself but also onto the high offices he had held. “The commando used his professional training to flee from the court and not to chase the enemy,” he said.
He also read out excerpts from foreign newspapers to prove how Musharraf had heaped embarrassment on the nation. He quoted The Washington Post, which wrote: “Musharraf, the one time Pakistani military ruler who said he was not afraid of jail, raced away from court with his security detail after a judge ordered his arrest in a treason case. Local broadcast footage captured scenes of Musharraf taking flight in a black SUV.”
Senator Farhatullah Babar quoted a Hadith that says that the way a person endures and stands up to trial and tribulation determines whether he is to be honoured or reviled and despised. “Given the cowardly reaction of Musharraf during a testing moment of life on Thursday he had joined the ranks of those whom honour and dignity eluded,” he said.
Senator Mushahidullah Khan said Pervez Musharraf is a national criminal but he was being given preferential treatment. “The establishment has to decide whether they are with the law or with a retired general,” he added.
He praised the judiciary for taking the bold step of ordering Musharraf’s arrest, saying this verdict will be written in history in golden words.In the meantime, Mian Raza Rabbani has protested over the reconstitution of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and said its meeting is illegal and unconstitutional.
Speaking on a point of order, he said the caretakers’ decision of convening the CCI is unconstitutional as under the Constitution the CCI is answerable before parliament and parliament is incomplete as it consists of the National Assembly, Senate and President. “The election for the National Assembly is being held and until the new government assumes power the CCI could not be reconstituted,” he opined.
He warned that no future government was bound to accept the decision of caretaker government taken in the CCI.The caretaker law minister said the concerns of the senator would be communicated to the caretaker prime minister. “We only summoned the meeting of all chief ministers on a one-point agenda of security issues during the election,” he added.