Opinion Pak Affairs Politics

Should Musharraf be offered indemnity?

According to several newspapers that the president Musharraf may announce his decision to resign in next 48 hours. A mix of conflicting signals are coming from president camp; rising pressure from impeachment lobby and manoeuvrings by senior American and British diplomats soon compel Gen (retd) Musharraf to reassess the situation and he might ignore the advices from his self-styled advisers; his trusted political allies, and those who were beneficiaries of his benevolence are telling him to fight and face for obvious interests. According to source ruling coalition has started to establish plan for future and few names for president are mutually being discussed.

Army has removed itself from the center stage as they have decided to keep themselves away from the main stream politics. Perhaps The army was a single institution remained organized and worked in sophistication. But last several months have witnessed the hostility and agony against the army men. Several attacks have been made and many soldiers were killed regardless of the fact whose order they supposed to follow. Secondly was it a deliberate effort make Army unpopular within Pakistan. Comparatively less defensive Pakistan can be easy target. Thus to avoid any unpleasantness Army chief has decided to keep Army away however army has given a clear signal for not supporting president Musharraf anymore. the last gesture came when Army Chief Gen. Kyani had a function at Kakool Academy and did not attend a midnight party on the eve of Independence Day in Islamabad with President Musharraf.

Interesting to note is Whether or not the president will opt for such a drastic step of appearing before elected parliament to face impeachment process; remains unclear. However, two top government functionaries say that through an emissary, the president was told politely that if he agreed to resign, there would be no public humiliation and he would be given a safe and honourable exit.

An impression is coming out from a series of interviews with senior politicians and officials that the president has become quite jittery and has started to feel like a defeated man. His anger and frustration is based largely on his own created notion: that after having served the country for so long, he has been left with so few friends and supporters. Main frustrating element on President Musharraf’s end seemingly appeared when top command of army started giving impression that they would keep themselves away from the constitutional and political battle.

There are rumors that President Musharraf will step down before Monday but as to protect the rights of an Army Chief and to avoid a tradition of humiliating Army Chief in future; Army looks to demand the a complete indemnity a safe passage. It is interesting to note that president was asked to get a safe passage few months back and to leave for Turkey wishfully but he stayed. It is also pertinent to mention that if he has been offered indemnity; all the circle involved in supporting his orders will remain in the government machinery.

Interestingly Ex-Servicemen Association has said on Sunday that President Musharraf should not be given safe exit after the impeachment and should be tried. Talking to media, Ex-servicemen members Salim Haider, General (Retd.) Mahmood and others hoped that decision taken by the ruling coalition on August 7 would be implemented. They demanded that President Musharraf along with his loyalists should be penalized and added they were against any safe passage for the President

He has lost favours in all three provincial assemblies of Pakistan and fourth will pass motion against his impeachment hopefully by tomorrow thus his efforts of destablising the system and preventing the coalition government from initiating the process of impeachment seem to be failed. Using 58-2B, and half-hearted attempt to bring in a no-confidence motion against the provincial government in the Sindh assembly fizzled out when Makhdoom Amin Fahim failed to muster the support of more than four or five members. Ultimately his son resigned from the Sindh assembly. Seeking help from country’s apex court would have been more serious option either to prevent the national parliament from initiating the impeachment process or to support the president in case he used his authority under the Constitution’s Article 58(2) b to pack up the government and the assembly.

Lawyer community who have actively been asking for impeachment and restoration of November 3 Judiciary are shifting their preferences from restoration to a bigger issue of impeachment. Recent deadline for restoration from them has passed today but a flexible stance has been noticed from their end regarding impeachment of a dictator. According to Munir Malik former president Supreme Courat Bar association; Lawyers movement has inherently hard fast principles of restoration of November 3 Judiciary and impeachment of Musharraf. On present real grounds lawyers movement is not ready to show flexibility for indemnity. If Musharraf is to offered a safe passage he will not be accountable for his deeds for them this is against the principles upon which they rooted movement. While Supreme Court Bar President Chaudhary Aitizaz Ahsan has said that impeachment of President Musharraf would not be sufficient and he must be made accountable.

Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif has said that Nawaz Sharif and he was of the opinion that President Musharraf should not be given any safe exit under any circumstances and he should be made accountable in accordance with the constitution. Talking to media on the sidelines of the 42nd Convocation of Lahore College of Physicians and Surgeons, Shahbaz Sharif said that the man who abused the constitution for eight years and committed monumental corruptions, this man must be made accountable under the constitution and laws in all circumstances.

Indemnity can be given to president Musarraf by a simple amendment in constitution with 2/3 majority if this has to be the option coalition government considers. But question remains same, a respectful exit for an Army Chief is a right stance from Army but respectful exit of a dictator who is responsible for hundreds of heinous crimes including bringing Pakistan to verge of breaking, allowing others to violate airspace of pakistan in FATA, Waziristan, who is responsible for provoking elements like Baluchistan Liberation Army. Pakistani nation is paying for his deeds and decisions of handing over people to America including Dr. Afia, a strange U-turn of Kashmir against the wish and will of Pakistanis and Kashmirs, October 12, 1999 military coup against Nawaz Sharif government, suspension of constitution, imposition of partial Martial Law, Lal Masjid operation, judges’ sacking, weakening of the federation. If he is forgiven for his deeds people will not forgive them if ruling coalition provides safe passage to Pervez Musharraf. He had no sympathy for 160 million people of Pakistan why they should have any sympathy for him.

About the author

Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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  • To me it is enough for men like Musharraf and Bush to be personally ignored but critically taken to task by academia, by media, by history and by their victims. The lessons we must learn from the actions of both men, traditional punishment would obscure.

  • His impeachment or his departure is written on the wall but he cant see.. my worries are more towards the future; what is next and who is next and how will he be able to handle situation in Pakistan?