*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - August 30, 2009: Having full potential to "make or break" the current political dispensation, the trickle-down effect of the issue of Musharraf’s trial, has already started. In Pakistan, the first week of the month of fasting was marked by political controversies and gossips, having its link with the demand of trial of the former military dictator by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan’s second largest and opposition party.
First, there was the controversy of military operation in Karachi in 1992, when the head of PML-N Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) accused Nawaz Sharif for his alleged involvement in the cleanup operation, which left hundreds of MQM workers dead. Adding fuel to fire, the chief of Musharraf created Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-i-Azam (PML-Q) Chaudary Shujat Hussain, who was interior minister in Nawaz’s kitchen cabinet in 1992, disclosed how around 60 workers of MQM were brought from Karachi, tortured to death and then buried in Islamabad’s Margalla Hills.
To clear allegations against its chief, the PML-N went in public saying it was the army’s doing. The Karachi story was not yet over that a list of politicians involved in getting money from the spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was made public by the former chief spy of the ISI Asad Durrani. The list, which reopened old wounds, included name of the former PM Nawaz Sharif.
The starting point of the ongoing controversies was the Supreme Court (SC) decision of July 31 which declared the imposition of emergency by the former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on November 3, 2007 illegal and left it for parliament to decide the fate of Musharraf.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani says his government will try Musharraf if the parliament passes a unanimous resolution. In other words he is saying that his government will not proceed against Musharraf or that pursuing Musharraf is out of question. His slain leader Benazir Bhutto and her spouse struck a deal with Musharraf which allowed Miss Bhutto’s return to the country. The deal was in the shape of controversial National Reconciliation Order (NRO), which provided indemnity to politicians, diplomats and other civil servants involved in corruption cases. The foot-dragging of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to try Musharraf, according to political observers, is caused by the concern that it will upset the guarantors of the deal—the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the Pakistan’s powerful military.
Then there are the ones who maintain that putting the general on trial would be a waste of time and effort.
"It would be best to come out of the past and concentrate on the tasks ahead", says Ayaz Amir, a columnist and PML-N parliamentarian.
Though no one appeared on behalf of Musharraf in the apex court to defend him in the "judges case" which was related to the imposition of emergency, yet he is not without supporters to defend him in public, parliament and media on the trial issue. The more prominent among them is the former ruling PML-Q. Its chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has recently said that his party will oppose moves against Musharraf. The MQM has been defending Musharraf since he removed chief justice Iftikhar Chaudary in March 2007 from his position and then onwards. The former dictator has supporters even beyond these two parties.
But the PML-N is adamant on Musharraf’s trial and challenged his emergency in the apex court. The PML-N chief demands that Musharraf should be tried under Article 6 of the constitution. Article 6 of the constitution says "anyone who abrogates or subverts the constitution is guilty of high treason. He who conspires with another to abrogate or subvert it or aids this other person’s act of abrogating or subverting it is likewise guilty of high treason."
If Musharraf is tried for declaring a state of emergency on Nov 3, 2007, so, in terms of Article 6, those who aided him too could be charged with high treason.
Putting the former military dictator and president on trial would be like opening a "Pandora box", having the potential to cause panic, confusion and chaos. To avoid any derailment of the system, the Supreme Court, which emerged more powerful after the successful lawyers movement holds the key. Musharraf’s imposition of emergency, which has been challenged by the PML-N in the Supreme Court will be the focal of attention in days and weeks to come.