It is a simple case of defiance and delusion on part of retired General Pervez Musharraf who is to appear on the first hearings of the treason trial on Jan., 1, 2014. The ex-strong man is still under the illusion that the common man and the strong institution of Pakistan army is on his side in this critical hour, whereas the truth is that neither the men on the streets nor the army in its bunkers is supporting him. What a turn of fate for a man who was followed by an entourage of “yes-men” ready to fill his every wish.
Musharraf is responsible for the mess he is in. He was welcomed by the people of Pakistan as a leader that could alleviate their sufferings. They believed that he would clean the dirty political environment and take the drastic steps to improve the economic situation of Pakistan.He did neither. Instead, he is held responsible for all the present political and economic ills that Pakistan faces today.
His unpopular decision of joining the American war on terror is considered a major mistake. All the other problems are a natural corollary of this political move. This decision of Musharraf pushed Pakistan into a war that it had nothing to do with. This is the common perception of the majority of political commentators, as well as the common man in Pakistan.
Another main mistake committed by him was manipulating the local bodies elections. The plan was a simple one: remove the old guard from the political affairs of Pakistan and replace them with hand-picked Musharraf loyalists. After accomplishing this he formed a king’s party, Pakistan Muslim-Quaid (PML-Q) and held the general elections. The majority of the people who had won the local bodies elections were raised through these rigged elections to the parliament and some into the senate.
He took some constructive steps on the way as well, like freeing Pakistani media and giving licenses to hundred of private television channels. As ill luck would have it, this same media is now his main critic. The Musharraf treason trial is a sorry tale of defiance and illusion, as he is adamant that he did not do anything wrong by declaring an emergency on Nov., 3, 2007. He is adamant that he declared an emergency because the judiciary in Pakistan was unduly meddling in the affairs of the state. He suspended the superior judiciary including Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, and abrogated the constitution. Both were ill-advised, ill-timed and in addition, extremely unpopular moves.
Musharraf is defiant that he declared emergency because it was the only sensible thing to do at the time. Further, he is still under the illusion that his step was in the interest of people of Pakistan. The bitter truth is that Musharraf, in his decade long rule, could have put Pakistan on the way of unprecedented progress but the courtiers around him made him commit mistakes that have landed him in deep trouble.
The treason trial under article six of the constitution has made Musharraf a defiant and illusion ridden man, with the sentence of death hanging over his head.
An Editorial By Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada