Thursday 30 April 2009

Throne or the dock: who decides - Musharraf or people of Pakistan!

General Musharraf ruled Pakistan for almost nine years with all the belligerence of an illegitimate usurper. After seeking an "honourable" exit from Presidency in 2008 by avoiding impeachment and seeking reassurances that he will not be prosecuted he now has the cheek to suggest that he is "ready to resume his office of President of Pakistan to steer out the country from present crises situation". The old hawk wants his throne in the Margala Hills of Islamabad returned to him through, once again, back door politics.

Fortunately he is not a serving General any more so he cannot enter the presidency riding a Pakistan army tank. He cannot buy himself an electoral victory because the political party that he created with his cronies while being a dictator got kicked out in the last general election simply because of association with him. And Americans, whose presidential level security is keeping him alive have not invaded Pakistan yet so no chance of getting appointed as high representative of US occupied Pakistan like General Jay Garner in Iraq - though I personally doubt that Musharraf will stoop this low.

Though weak but still there is a democracy in Pakistan and only People of Pakistan have the right to chose who leads them into the future, even if, like in recent past, it means electing the bona fide most corrupt politician in the world as their president - but that's democracy and people's choice.

What people of Pakistan, a vast majority of them, want for Mr. Musharraf is to see him sitting in the dock being held accountable for the crimes that he committed while in absolute power for around a decade. In a new democratic Pakistan I don't want him to be treated unfairly but justly - an impartial investigation followed by proper prosecution through independent courts without any politicisation of the process. The crimes against people of Pakistan committed by Musharraf and administration of his henchmen must not remain a shameful legacy for our children to carry.

Every single day that passes with Musharraf and his cronies not in the docks being accounted for the crimes against the people and state of Pakistan encourages another military adventurer in waiting. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that aspiring dictators are not allowed to hold the people and country to ransom in future.

From among a long list of his crimes ones that immediately should be brought before the courts include:

  • extra-judicial murder of 80 year old Sardar Akbar Bugti of Baluchistan. General Musharraf is on record to have warned Akbar Bugti of dire consequences if he did not tow the government's line. Justice for Akbar Bugti will go a long way towards satisfying the feelings of injustice among the Baloch nation.
  • illegally throwing out a democratically elected government in 1999 and suspension of constitution which in itself is an act of treason
  • imposition of partial Martial-law in 2007 in his role as Army chief - an illegal act under the constitution, the Military Code, or any other national law - again an act if treason carried out to avoid having impeached through the superior courts.
  • sacking of the superior judiciary including the Chief Justice of Pakistan after failing to carry out the worst act of bullying courts into submission.
  • for being the worst modern day slave trader selling Pakistanis to USA under the guise of terrorism laws and receiving money and other benefits in return. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and her three young children's abduction, illegal detention and humiliation in Afghanistan should be used as the main case. Musharraf is on record in his biography that he traded 600 people for economic benefits from US.
  • Joint responsibility with Maulana Abdul Aziz for deaths of over 200 people during the siege of Lal Masjid in Islamabad where both the General and the Maulana created a situation that could have been avoided and lives saved.
A petition has recently been filed with the Supreme Court of Pakistan and I hope this turns out to be one of many steps that we need to take to bring Musharraf and his cronies to justice and put a serious obstacle in the way of any future aspirant to dictatorship in Pakistan.

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