Generals versus senators and Musharraf’s dying political ambitions

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The resolution unanimously adopted by the Senate on Tuesday to try former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf for treason upon his return came in response to demands from dozens of former top-ranked army officers to provide a level playing field, as well as protocol, to Musharraf by the government when he returns.
After being disappointed with the performance of his political team and the supposed cold shoulder by the military establishment, Musharraf finally resorted to his former military colleagues and addressed a gathering of some 168 retired army officers last Saturday. Former top generals, including two four-star generals, 17 three-star generals, 25 major generals, and some 50 brigadiers passed a unanimous resolution in support of their former boss and asked the government to provide protocol and security to Musharraf upon his return.
“We feel that General (r) Pervez Musharraf should be provided a level playing field in the political arena, as well as protocol and security by the government as befits any ex-president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the resolution said. Within two days, angry senators from both sides of the divide asked the government to arrest the former military ruler on his return and try him on treason charges.
Pakistan People’s Party PPP Senator Raza Rabbani along with Senators Raja Zafarul Haq (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz), Prof Khurshid Ahmad (Jamaat-e-Islami), Dr Khalid Somroo (Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl), Abdul Rahim Khan Mandokhel (Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party), Humayun Khan Mandokhel (Independent), Afrasiab Khattak (Awami National Party) and Dr Abdul Malik Baloch (National Party) moved the resolution. Although Musharraf’s former allies – the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement – were not among those who moved the resolution, sources close to the PML-Q leadership said the Chaudhrys of Gujrat were happy with the move.
The resolution stated that Musharraf had twice held the constitution in abeyance, and brought the judiciary into disrepute by removing, ridiculing and arresting the judges of the superior judiciary. The resolution also accused the former president of being an accomplice in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Nawab Akbar Bugti. The resolution added that Musharraf had compromised vital national security interests through clandestine deals and unwritten agreements with foreign governments.
The Senate passed the resolution at a time when the former president is visiting Jordon, and also plans to travel to Saudi Arabia to gather support for his political comeback. Meanwhile, the PPP government looks determined to arrest Musharraf as soon as he lands in Karachi in connection with Benazir Bhutto’s murder case. Musharraf and his confidants are also in contact with the United States and the United Kingdom to seek assurances by Pakistani authorities for immunity from detention and trial.
Senator Rabbani moved the resolution after statements by Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan, PPP Secretary General Jahangir Badar and Interior Minister Rehman Malik, suggesting that Musharraf would be likely welcomed by handcuffs on his arrival. PPP leaders claim a consensus over Musharraf’s trial in Benazir Bhutto murder case, as any leniency or hesitation on the government’s behalf could provide an opportunity to the critics to say that the Zardari-Gilani government compromised Benazir’s blood. “Whether we try Musharraf under Article 6 or not, we cannot spare him in BB’s murder case in which the court has already declared him a proclaimed offender,” said a PPP leader.
The adventurous political journey of Musharraf that started immediately after the 2008 elections has witnessed no success in three-and-a-half years. His supporters ditched him for their vested political interests time and again, and some PML-Q leaders who remained close to Musharraf after his ouster from power believe that a group of sycophants having no political constituency and acumen are responsible for Musharraf’s failed political career.
A former PML-Q minister close to Musharraf commented that the few members of Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) were wasting his money. “Barrister Saif visited European countries numerous times to establish APML chapters there, while he has not yet set up any proper party office in any district of Pakistan,” he said.
A prominent former APML member said he resigned from Musharraf’s party due to his differences with Dr Amjad, Barrister Saif and Fawad Chaudhry. Recently, Fawad Chaudhry also announced quitting the APML, saying the decision-making process in the party lacked democratic spirit. He said the spirit of democracy was to take everybody on board, which was not being practiced in the APML. “Musharraf has been encircled by sycophants,” he said.
Commenting on Musharraf’s announcement to return to Pakistan, prominent analyst Rasool Bukhsh Rais said, “I think he is going to become a political joker and nothing else … he has no following in the society and it is better for him to stay out of the political arena.” He believed that the military establishment would not provide security and protection to Musharraf from his political opponents because it was not responsible for the former president’s political advertures.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Musharraf is the only leader of whom Corrupt politicians are scared . Musharraf will return soon IA and turn the Pakistan the best nation in world

  2. Musharraf was the best leader Pakistan has had since its independence. If he does not come back and take full control, I believe Pakistan will become another Somalia. Pak Army should fully support him if they want to save Pakistan.

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