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Friday Feb 28, 2020, Rajab 4, 1441 Hijri

Musharraf framed by his past

25 April, 2013

By Abid Mustafa

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On April 20th 2013, the anti-terrorist court in Islamabad declared that the former dictator and ex-army Chief Pervez Musharraf is to be held on judicial remand for 14 days, after which he is to reappear in court to answer for the illegal detention of judges in 2007.

Earlier, the former general's legal team was working to secure bail on a number of cases brought against him, such as the murder of Benazir in 2007 and the killing of Akbar Khan Bugti in 2006. The writing has been on the wall for Musharraf, ever since he returned from self-imposed exile. The cold reception at the airport, the nominal presence of his supporters and his party, the failure to get registered to contest next month's general election, death threats from the Taliban and to cap it all off the general is embroiled in a number of legal cases. Even his closest ally and personal mentor America, has deserted him in his hour of need. On April 19th 2013, the US embassy was quick to distance itself from one of America's dearest darlings. In a statement, a US Embassy spokesperson said, "This is an issue to be resolved solely in accordance with Pakistan's constitution and laws."

We all know how fickle Pakistan's constitution and laws are, and frankly speaking they are not worth more than the paper they are written on. This is not a moot point, but undeniable fact that every Pakistani has sensed and felt since the creation of Pakistan. The rich and powerful elite of Pakistan are allowed to roam freely mired in their ubiquitous corruption scandals, while the poor and down trodden are persecuted to the fullest letter of the law. Will Musharraf's fate be any different? Does he need to be tried in this manner?

After all Musharraf's deeds during his tenure as president and chief of army staff, speak volumes about the evil crimes he has perpetrated against the people of Pakistan. Here is a quick recap of his most despicable crimes:

• Compromising Pakistan's sovereignty by siding with America's war against Islam
• Surrendering Pakistani air bases, water-ways, military assets and intelligence agencies to the Americans
• Giving unprecedented access to American intelligence agencies and army personal to roam freely within the country
• Putting Pakistan's strategic assets such as the county's nuclear weapons under the watchful eye of the Americans
• Chief architect and supporter of America's vicious drone programme
• Responsible for the slaughter of innocent Pakistani civilians in the tribal areas
• The indiscriminate slaughter of the men and women at Lal Masjid
• Responsible for the abduction, torture and killings of hundreds of Pakistani citizens, and chief culprit in the debasing of Aafia Siddiqui
• Continuation of American hegemony through Musharraf's twin appointments of Zardari and Kayani

What an evil legacy indeed! Surely then, Musharraf is guilty of high-treason, and there is no need to waste tax payers' money in a useless show trial. The money should be used to bring other culprits to justice. These criminals are easily identifiable as their heinous crimes of treachery against the people of Pakistan are permanently etched on their foreheads. As for Musharraf, all that waits for him is the swift implementation of the punishment. Musharraf's supporters should reflect on his past, and if they still want to defend his evil deeds then how many of them are willing to swap Musharraf's deeds with their own deeds to face Allah (swt) on the Day of Judgment.

There also a number of important observations in the manner of Musharraf's treatment:

1. America is not a reliable friend or a trusted advisor to any of its agents. Washington's interests are first and foremost, agents are secondary and only exist to be discarded like used tissues once they have achieved their master's purpose. In 2008, America disposed of Musharraf after it became obvious that Musharraf's rule was untenable. Currently, America is manipulating Musharraf's return to put new life into the much maligned Pakistan's democracy experiment. This, America hopes will restore the confidence of the people in the political system it is currently putting together.

2. America is looking to strengthen Pakistan's judiciary and other civil institution at the expense of the army. The fact that the army has stayed out of the limelight and has not intervened to aid Musharraf alludes to this. It also means that in the future, America plans to diminish the role of the Pakistani army and the ISI in civil affairs. Musharraf's treatment is an ominous sign of what Kayani should expect after his retirement.

3. Musharraf like rest of the leaders of the Muslim world are no longer self-aware when it comes to determining their support amongst the people they rule. They think the people love them, but as Saddam, Ben Ali, Mubarak, Saleh, Gaddafi and Musharraf have discovered their people despise them.

Indeed, it is a torrid time to be an agent of America in Pakistan. Whilst the present serving agents are a lost cause, those that seek to follow them or replace them must be thinking very hard about whether it is worth the trouble being a surrogate of America— only to be betrayed and humiliated. Some may even be thinking of switching sides and supporting the Islamic resurgence that has gripped Pakistan. It is this very notion that is creating indecision and defections across all the segments of the Pakistani society, as America struggles to control the political destiny of Pakistani people.

Abid Mustafa is a political commentator who specializes in Muslim affairs and global issues.

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