The Constitution of Pakistan 1973 defines the crime of High Treason in Article 6:
“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.”
Pakistan’s has hardly been stable ever since its birth in 1947. Each and every ruler – be it a democratically elected politician, or a self proclaimed authoritarian in uniform – has acted on one single agenda: get your benefit out of the land and people of this country and flee. After the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan moved on to the path of deterioration – even before any significant development. Extremely frequent changes in regime during the first decade affected the nation adversely. Rest was destroyed by the four army coup d’états! Nothing could be done to punish the first three; the fourth one has –to his misfortune – been arrested and kept in custody.
General (retd) Pervez Musharraf illegally took over the country’s affairs in 1999. Where on one side his era is defined by economic stability, on the other hand that decade witnessed the use of force and aggression on General’s opponents. His reign is marked by the unfortunate incidents of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, Lal Masjid Operation, Mr. Bugti’s assassination, missing persons, and use of force on participants of Lawyers’ Movement. However, the impact of General’s actions taken on 3rd November 2007 was the greatest. And the very acts have tightened the noose of gallows around his stiff neck!!
Lately, the newly elected PM Mr. Sharif has demonstrated his interest in trying Mr. Musharraf for High Treason under Article 6. What ails my mind is the conflict of interest that overshadows the right intentions involved.
There isn’t any reservation about Mr. Musharraf’s trial for the wrongdoings on his part. Nonetheless, he wasn’t alone when he committed those dire mistakes; he had a brigade of advisers giving him cautions about every matter. If he is to be blamed for November 7th Emergency proclamation; the “advisers” need to be included in the list of defendants as it wasn’t a “one-man show”!
Law has certain boundaries and limitations I’m pretty fond of; one such limitation is the element of “Bias”. The slightest presence of personal or professional bias can corrupt the whole case; thus it requires to be avoided. A judge is not allowed to hear the cases where he/she might relate with the victim or the alleged; after all the judging authority is but a human. Unfortunately, judiciary of Pakistan suffers from a stigma – nullifying the rule of bias – called “Doctrine of Necessity”; thanks to Justice Muneer.
Unfortunately (for Mr. Musharraf), he is going to be tried by some of the same members of judiciary who were victimized by him during his period of rule. I wonder how the judges would manage to alienate themselves from the nightmares of their past persecution by General Musharraf; chances in this case are high for contamination with bias.
All of us have to wait and see how the story unfolds in future!
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