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April 17, 2014

Musharraf trial consolidates political forces

April 17, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Musharraf and his coterie’s effort to drag the institution of army to save the former dictator’s skin has backfired as political forces are getting to a grand consensus that any confrontation with the military would be avoided without any compromise on Musharraf’s high treason case, which has now become the real test of the rule of law in Pakistan.
Though Musharraf was desperate to get the army and the government at each other’s throats, it ended up in the government and the political parties’ firm decision that there would be no compromise on the rule of law.
It is now greatly realised in the government circles and among the political circles that giving a safe passage to Musharraf would not serve democracy, rule of law and the Constitution but would encourage and pave the way for martial law in the future. His trial by the independent judiciary, it is said, would uphold the rule of law besides serving as a real deterrence against any future dictatorial rule in the country.
To avoid any misunderstanding between the military and the civilian institutions, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has already asked his ministers and party leaders to be careful in their statements. The government would ensure that no disrespect is shown by anyone to any institution, including the Pakistan Army.
Regarding the Musharraf’s case, it has been decided to leave it to the court of law. However, no underhand deal would be made to pave the way for the release and flying abroad of Musharraf.
According to a key government source, any deal in the Musharraf case would mean undoing the post-March 9, 2007 struggle and achievement for the rule of law in the country. Regarding Musharraf’s wish to drag others, including corps commanders and other key military officers of his time in the high treason case, the government sources said that the high profile accused had the right to prove before the court of law his claim that he did the November 3 act on the

advice and in consultation with others.
To Musharraf’s disadvantage not only all his civilian associates have already distanced themselves from the November 3, 2007 action but there is not even a single document anywhere in the government to prove that Musharraf had consulted others or had abrogated the Constitution on the advice of someone else.
Musharraf says that he had acted on the advice of the then Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz but the summary sent by the latter to the former did not suggest an abrogation of the Constitution. The said summary was sent to Musharraf as president but he acted as the army chief to hold the Constitution in abeyance.
Musharraf had claimed in his November 3 extra-constitutional order that he had consulted the prime minister and the cabinet. However, it has been proved that neither a cabinet meeting was convened nor the issue was ever discussed by the cabinet.
The FIA team which probed the matter and held Musharraf alone responsible for the November 3 act was though not allowed to see the GHQ record; the sources said that even in the GHQ neither any such documentary evidence was called nor any corps commanders meeting was convened to discuss the issue.If Musharraf and his legal team think otherwise, the onus would be on them to bring concrete evidence to prove the prosecution’s case wrong.

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