ISLAMABAD: With Pervez Musharraf’s departure from the scene, a long era of dictatorship, spread over nine years, has ended but it also presents a challenge to the elected representatives to come up to the expectations of the masses who voted them to power in February 18 elections hoping for a change in their life. Pervez Musharraf rose to the position of Army Chief on resignation of his predecessor General Jehangir Karamat in 1998. He seized power in a coup on 12th October 1999 overthrowing popularly elected Government of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
Initially, he suspended assemblies and later dissolved them. The then Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif was detained and tried in plane hijacking case and eventually sentenced to life imprisonment. He was later sent into exile to Saudi Arabia. Pervez Musharraf first assumed the newly created office of the Chief Executive and retained the then President Muhammad Rafiq Tararr. However, in 2001, Musharraf himself took over the mantle of the Presidency as well.
He organized a highly controversial referendum in 2002 to get for himself some sort of legitimacy.
After 2002 general elections, he cobbled together heterogeneous political elements to form a Government which drew strength from Musharraf-created PML(Q), defecting parliamentarians of the PPP called Peoples Party Patriots, MQM and independents. This government was initially headed by Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, then for a while by Ch. Shaujaat Hussain and then by Shaukat Aziz.
In 2003 at the time of securing indemnity from the parliament for his unconstitutional acts of 1999, Pervez Musharraf made a public commitment to doff the uniform as a quid-pro-quo for MMA’s support for passage of the 17th amendment in the constitution. Later, he reneged on his pledge and relinquished the charge of army chief in November 2007 only after getting himself re-elected in a highly controversial elections in October.
Trouble for General Musharraf began when he autocratically dismissed the country’s Chief Justice on March 9, 2007. This triggered a country-wide protest movement by the lawyers’ community supported by political parties and civil society. The reference against the Chief Justice was heard by a full bench of the Supreme Court and rejected, leading to resumption of duties by Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary.
However, the President General Pervez Musharraf, who was also Army Chief, issued proclamation of emergency and PCO on November 3 last year resulting into dismissal of about sixty judges of the Supreme Court and the four high courts including Chief Justice of Pakistan. He did so at a time when the Supreme Court was seized with the case of determining his eligibility as presidential candidate in uniform.
It was in this background that people voted overwhelmingly against the King’s party patronized by Pervez Musharraf in February 18 general elections, which were construed by all as a verdict against policies of Pervez Musharraf.
The retired General, however, remained unconcerned and pressure continued to mount on him to quit as President because of his anti-democratic moves. The coalition partners on the 7th of this month decided to bring impeachment motion against Musharraf for violation of the constitution and misconduct. As a prelude to the impeachment process, the four provincial assemblies passed resolutions demanding of the President to seek vote of confidence from his electoral college or face impeachment.-SANA