A Kangaroo Trial of the Eagle: The Treason Case of ex-President Musharraf
A Kangaroo Trial of the Eagle: The Treason Case of ex-President Musharraf
The high treason trial of Musharraf is writing new tales of selective justice. The trial is not legally acceptable & neither morally plausible. And as a patriotic citizen it is our duty to raise voice against it today or face humiliation tomorrow!

Under the fumes of terrorism and Thar drought, another important issue is keeping the nation’s head busy; the Treason Trial under Article 6 of Pervez Musharraf, the Ex- President and ex-Army Chief of Pakistan. The trial has continued for over months now and has gone through several twists and turns. While one side of the Government is extensively obsessed with trying Pervez Musharraf under Article 6, there seems to be the existence of a large support base for Pervez Musharraf within the public also.

Some are of the belief that President Musharraf was the ruler that Pakistan needed and more than that, the one they desperately need today to get the country back on its feet; while others are of the opinion that irrespective of his actions as a ruler, the trial is turning out to be biased and justice has not prevailed from the concerned authorities in this case.

Allow me to also highlight those opinions here, of how this treason trial is an injustice in its most basic form and is a prime example of state vendetta, selective prosecution and a kangaroo trial.

* A Matter of Deceptive Perceptions: The Kangaroo Trial

A kangaroo trial is often held by a group or a community to give the appearance of a fair and just trial, even though the verdict has in reality already been decided before the trial has begun. The term may also apply to a court held by a legitimate judicial authority who intentionally disregards the court's legal or ethical obligations.

12th Oct 1999 was the Main Act Not 3rd Nov

Gen. Musharraf took charge of the country as a result of a Military Coup on 12th October 1999 and two days later on 14th October 1999 declared a state of emergency in the country. 8 years later, the then-President, Pervez Musharraf again practiced his constitutional power of declaring emergency on November 3rd 2007.

The Constitution of Pakistan provides the President of the country the right to impose the Emergency Rule under the Article X-223(1), which states:

If the President is satisfied that a grave emergency exists in which the security of Pakistan, or any part thereof, is threatened by war or external aggression, or by internal disturbance beyond the power of a Provincial Government to control, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency.
Musharraf addressing the nation

However, both these cases are different in the way that on 3rd November 2007, Pervez Musharraf was legitimately elected President of the country but on 12th October 1999 he took those steps as an Army Chief. Questions can be raised on his first attempt of declaring emergency but none on the second.

This argument is strongly valid as even the Supreme Court Bar Association’s former President Asma Jehangir, who was an active member of the Lawyer's; Movement against President Musharraf has also endorsed it with the following statement:

The government should be pragmatic and should give up the policies of revenge, Musharraf high treason trial is moving ahead in an unjust way and if the trial has to happen it should happen from 12th October 1999, not from 3rd Nov 2007.

But surprisingly the aim of the trial is condescending to what the public is made to believe. The trial is conducted on the basis of Musharraf’s act of declaring Emergency on 3rd November without any comment on his actual act of declaring emergency 12th Oct 1999.

Why is this? Keep reading...

12th Oct 1999 was not a solo Musharraf’s play

The reason why the government and courts do not want to start Musharraf’s trial on the basis of his initial act of 12th October 1999 is that, the Judiciary, Army, Bureaucracy and the Parliament all were a part of coup to overthrow the government of that period.

Furthermore, according the Constitution of Pakistan (Article 6) declares that:

Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.”
“Any person aiding or abetting [or collaborating] the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.”

This article, being enforceable by law, clearly states that any person attempting or supporting Musharraf in the action of a coup shall be guilty of high treason. Even if this article was not stated within the constitution, association in the act of attempting or aiding applies to all those who supports or aid someone in an illegal act.

Various politicians, civil society personnel and lawyers have pointed out this hypocrisy at various occasions. As Mr. Altaf Hussain, leader of MQM said in his statement:

“If he is a traitor, who can be called a patriot? Who would defend the country if the commander of the Army is called a traitor? Musharraf was not being tried under Article 6 for actions taken on October 12, 1999, because it would also affect the people who had aided, abetted and collaborated Gen Musharraf, and the judges who took oath under the PCO.”

And those who aided Musharraf in the coup includes, but are not limited to:

The Armed forces of Pakistan:

On October 12th 1999 at 7:00 P.M, when the coup occurred, Gen. Musharraf was in the air. He was not preset on ground until 8:00 P.M, at the site of the crime. Technically speaking, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had sacked him at 5:00 PM, exactly two hours prior to the coup, and so factually, Musharraf was not also holding the office of “Commander-in-Chief” at that point. Hence, no one can trace it back to Musharraf to hold him responsible for the military coup.

Army taking over National Television and Islamabad Airport

The question now is who acted and took those steps? Who moved the troops to the control tower at Karachi Airport and took the control of the air traffic and hence, the whole country?

Then Prime Minister - Nawaz Sharif

Reality check: The Pakistan Army knew about the plan and intentions of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif well before the day of the coup. They speculated that Nawaz Sharif will stab them yet again, to secure his interests with US and Indian government. The fuel was spilled and the match stick lit to initiate a fire, which was put to good use when Nawaz Sharif ordered the air craft, which was taking Gen. Musharraf from Sri Lanka back to Pakistan, to be re-routed to Bombay-India.

Nawaz Sharif transgressed his legitimate boundaries by sacking Gen. Musharraf, the Head of Pakistan Armed Forces, ordering the plane to be taken to India, which was waiting for an opportunity for vengeance on Gen. Musharraf ever since the happenings of Kargil; and further trying him for his crimes committed during the Kargil war. After being removed as the Army Chief, Musharraf landing in India would have been of a common Pakistani citizen, who India considered as the enemy of state and a criminal for killing their soldiers during the Kargil War and who did not even had the official permission to be on Indian soil.

Imagine your reaction if you had seen General Jagjit Singh Aurora roaming around at the Karachi Airport in the lobby in 1971? Or Moulana Fazulullah today?

For any army in the world it is un-apprehensible to tolerate their chief being a captive and trialed in the courts of their arch enemy, and hence Army retaliated. Also not many of you may know, just 12 days ago; 1st October 1999, Nawaz Sharif had extended Gen. Pervez Musharraf's tenure as the “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee” for another two years. [4]

As Barry Bearak (NYT) puts it in the following words:

“Quieting rumors that the two men are on the outs, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has extended Gen. Pervez Musharraf's tenure as “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee” for another two years. The move was intended to end rumors about a change in command.”

This pulled over the curtain from Nawaz Sharif’s intentions and pre-planning treacher. If he wished to sack Gen. Musharraf after 12 days, the question arises as to why he extended his term previously? The answer is just to break the ice for better communication and cordial relations, sending Musharraf on a trip to Sri Lanka and on the way back hand him over to India.

But the Army rightly is, had sensed it coming, that Nawaz Sharif had other plans.As rightly put by Shireen Mazari, a Pakistani military analyst:

It wasn't exactly a secret what Nawaz Sharif's intentions were toward the army. The army chief was aware, this sort of move was anticipated and I guess they had a contingency plan for it.
Nawaz Sharif being briefed about Kargil Conflict at high grounds which he later said was not aware of

However, it is another discussion as to why Nawaz Sharif, who created such a ghastly plan of handing over the Army Chief of his own country to an enemy state, is not trialed for high treason.

President of Pakistan - Muhammad Rafiq Tarar

To sustain his rule, the notable appointments in the Armed Forces were very important for Musharraf. These appointments are made by the President of Pakistan, the highest office which belonged to Muhammad Rafiq Tarar at that time, who facilitated Gen. Musharraf every possible way.

President Rafiq Tarar with General Musharraf

The most notable appointments made by Muhammad Rafiq Tarar in this regard included, Air Marshal Muschaf Mir as Chief of Air Staff and Admiral Shahid Karimullah as Chief of Naval Staff.

Chief Justice of Pakistan - Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry

He was the Justice High Court, Quetta when the coup occurred and after the coup Gen. Mushrraf issued the Provisional Constitutional Order 1999 (PCO), on 26th January 2000. A few judges of the Supreme Court chose to resign instead of taking oath under the PCO notably Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui and to bridge the gap, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was called to Islamabad and took the office of the Chief Justice of Pakistan by the approval of Gen. Musharraf himself.

Justice Iftikhar Chaudry taking oath from Gen. Musharraf

Later Justice Chaudhry legitimized Gen. Musharraf’s entire act, including the coup and the PCO, making him the legal and rightful ruler of the state. Without the support of Judiciary and especially, Justice Iftikhar Chuadry, it was not possible for Gen. Musharraf to continue on his way ahead as the Head of the State of Pakistan.

Parliament and Politicians of Pakistan

On August 2002, Gen. Musharraf issued the Legal Framework Order 2002, to revive the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan with a few amendments to the original Constitution. As per law any amendment made to the Constitution of Pakistan had to be approved by the Parliament with 2/3 majority of the both houses. In December 2003, the then-elected parliament approved the amendments by the name of The Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan.

Notable politicians of Pakistan meeting General Musharraf in a healthy environment after the coup, mainly includes Moulana Fazul Rehman, Imran Khan, Moulana Sami and many others.

President Musharraf taking oath from newly elected parliamentarians after election 2008

People of Pakistan - All those who voted in Referendum 2002

Total votes casted in favor of Gen. Musharraf were during the 2002 Referendum were counted to 42,804,000 which makes 97% of the total votes. One may have a variation in the accurate quoted figures and the authenticity of the referendum, but at least people voted for him; somewhere, somehow. The question now is whether can we label, all those Pakistanis who voted in favor of Musharraf in 2002 Referendum, as traitors?

The legality of the events of 9th November 2007

As explained above, on 9th of November 2009 President Musharraf was an accepted and legal President of the country after getting a free chit from the Supreme Court; winning the Referendum in 2002, taking the oath of the office from then-Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and being approved by and presiding two National Assembly tenures. Any doubts?

What he did on 9th Nov 07 was his constitutional right as the President of Pakistan and so someone cannot be blamed for practicing a right given to him by the constitution of the country.

Trial in Army courts

Musharraf committed all the acts he is accused of being in uniform and the Army Chief of the country. According to the law practiced in Pakistan, if any in-service personnel of the Armed Forces committed a crime using the powers given to him by his designation in the army, he has to be trialed under the Military Court Rule which is also called Court Marshaled.

But now the Supreme Court of Pakistan seems to disagree with the stated law emphasizing that “the law practiced and observed by the Military cannot be applied to the accused post-retirement. The statement would be found an amusing verdict of the court itself, as the law applies to the specific time when the crime was committed, not when charges were filled. The time of the act, not the time of charges has to be kept into consideration.

Smoking is not illegal in Pakistan today. A vast number of people smoke, but if the government of Pakistan declares the act of smoking to be illegal today, does that mean all those millions smoking previously are also punishable? No.

For e.g. A person is accused of a crime in a country X, committed 2 years ago, but then leaves country X and comes to Pakistan. Now if someone file's a case to charge that person for those crimes today, then that country X will demand the culprit from the Government of Pakistan, given that an extradition treaty exists between the two states, for which organizations like Interpol exist. Also note that Pakistan can not start a trial on foreign land, because the person has committed the crime in country X.Also this occurred two years ago in country X and now he lives in Pakistan, for which even the government of the currently residing country does not have the right to trial him.

History will decide

Pervez Musharraf fought for Pakistan. He fought against an enemy which wanted to push the country back into the pit of extremism and barbarism. If you are also against that arch enemy, then you should support Pervez Musharraf today, because he stood up for Pakistan when you wanted to see him do it.

You may argue here that no matter what he did, he was a dictator and we should always support democracy as two wrongs don’t make a right. True. But as a rebuttal, an argument can be made that:

Ends are bigger than the means or are they not?

I am not against democracy, I truly believe that it is the best form of government; rule of people by the people and for the people. Why wouldn’t I?

But then there are priorities. I am all up for democracy and against the support of dictatorship, but if that is the last option to Pakistan, then fine, let it be. Democracy has to be established, it cannot establish itself, especially in a country as ours given the political and legal unrests and uncertainty.

Imagine if this country, (God forbid), slipped in the hands of those extremists, what would you reply to your children after 10-20 years when they will ask of you, what did you do to save the country from falling in this hands of the terrorists and the declared enemies of the state?

For those of us, currently supporting the side counting their silver linings by the Musharraf trial, good luck telling your kids:

I was too busy saving democracy when we lost the country.

Pakistan Paindabad!

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