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Pakistan: Ex President's Trial – Treason Or Revenge?

Categories: South Asia, Pakistan, Law, Politics

Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf [1] announced his resignation on the 18th of August, 2008. The much anticipated resignation came amid speculations of an impeachment move against him.

Now a year after the resignation the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif) (PML-N) [2], a leading political party, insists on putting Musharraf on trial for treason. Continuous demands have been made from the PML-N which are met with side-stepping [3] from the Government considering the risk of a political fallout.

The dodgy tactics by the Government seem to invite more political unrest than avoiding it. Moreover the recent decisions [4] from the Judiciary also reflect their reluctance in proceeding with the case. Ahsan at Five Rupees discusses various reasons [5] why the Judiciary is backing off from charging the former president.

Faisal Kapadia at Deadpan Thoughts questions [6] whether the trial is even necessary.

However the political parties and Judiciary continue to tag this as an important issue rather than revenge. The issue is portrayed to be of great concern to people across Pakistan. The Blog PkPolitics [7] writes about a recent survey [8] conducted by Gallup showing 71% people are in favor of the trial. The survey was conducted among 2926 men and women.

The Frontier Post reports [9] that the survey findings also show that while there are no significant differences in views on punishing General Musharraf across gender and age, there are notable differences across political affiliations.

In an interesting comparison Owais Ehsan at Pro-Pakistan talks about [10] a popular poll on Facebook:

The interesting fact is that more than 11,000 people have voted in just 3 days (if numbers provided by the poll are correct). ..So far the verdict is in favour of a trial by 53% supporting and 45% not supporting. It comes as a big surprise as I had this feeling the whole Pakistan wants to see him in court.

Considering the current state of affairs in Pakistan gaining the interest of majority towards a trial seems difficult. On my own blog [11] I talked about the dodgy politics involved and how the trial appears to be a political revenge rather than a call for justice.

Pakistan is currently fighting terrorism, economic recession, abject poverty and the threat of increasing insurgency. The country is also recovering from the largest exodus after partition, and in process of launching various full fledged operations against the Taliban. In situations such as these putting one’s energy into prosecuting an Ex-President doesn’t seem to be a significant addition to the state’s priority list.