By Alhaj Muhammad Khan
There is one mirror, even a window, to see into the regional and national pictures that determine the state of the people to think and hope for prospective outcomes.
The same condition is right for the people of Chitral these days to see the trial of Pervez Musharaf in the special court in the high treason case the window of Lowari tunnel.
Chitral was a princely state until accession to Pakistan in 1969. It remains cut-off from the rest of the country in every winter season due to heavy snowfall in Shandur pass on the north and Lowari Pass in the south. Credit goes to late Sir Nasirul Mulk before accession of Chitral with Pakistan for speaking about the tunnel project to get an all-weather road and then to the first MPA and MNA of Chitral, late Mr Jaffar Ali Shah, for seconding the idea of the tunnel.
First time in 1975 Z.A Bhutto’s government started work on Lowari tunnel but soon it was abandoned. Again potential work on Lowari tunnel project started in 2005 by President Pervaiz Musharaf. The major portion of the work has almost completed but the tunnel is yet to be ready for regular traffic.
The man who had done indelible work for Chitralis and to whom all pay heartily homage in Chitral is nowadays facing a serious allegation of treason.
The people of Chitral for the last two weeks petitioning, requesting, protesting and demonstrating in the frosty season for the opening of the road and on Jan 2 the government of KPK announced to keep the tunnel open for two days a week. It is a welcome decision but the well-wishers of Chitral – Pervaiz Musharaf – while coming to appear to face the treason case in the special court on the way was transferred to hospital after suffering a severe health problem. It is a jerk in the heart of the people of Chitral when his tunnel constructed during his time opens for traffic for Saturdays and Sundays in a week.
The condition in Chitral to be disconnected with the rest of the country has compelled the people to be obsessed with the picture of opened Lowari tunnel in the mirror in front of them. And when this window opens the people in Chitral through this trail of Lowari tunnel witnessing what they won’t happened to be with their benefactor.
When the Musharaf is seen in the regional mirror of Chitral, is alone who did which none has done for them in the 67 years history of Pakistan and in the national mirror he is a person alleged for trial in the court of law, is alone has to face it.
The people of Chitral by no means had been in a position to set regional image aside to view national picture on the given mirror. Whenever they used to see the national depiction on the mirror, spot the image of Musharaf on it. But it doesn’t mean that the people of Chitral are no longer in a stage either short of national sight or indifferent to national interest and inviolability of constitution but they are more concerned about their benefactor how to be tried.
A story from fictional collection resembles with the Musharaf case goes as: once there was a person in an old tribal society to appear in front of jirga for his alleged crime of breaking a sacred bowl. Though he was not alone in merrymaking and breaking the sacred bowl, his all friends and court men were there on the occasion.
When the news reached in the chief of the village he was called upon to appear in his court. He excused with a purpose that the jirga should also bring all members of the party to be face to face to reach the very point to decide who is the responsible and how many were his collaborators on the occasion to break the bowl.
In the instrument of governance of jirga it was also mentioned that once there is a threat for the life of the alleged in tribal structure, he has a right to decline to appear in the court of tribal chief. The same case happened with that person, he on the threat of hanging Damocles, decided to meet with the fortune-teller what should he had to do and what would likely happen in coming days. The fortune-teller told that you have a serious problem that an apparition has grasped your head, it may take your life; you need to meet with a medic in another village, I have nothing to get you rid of this ghost. It was again a difficult for the alleged person to leave this village unless the jirga allows him to depart.
When he lodged a request to the chief for treatment in another village, at last he was allowed to go for treatment, because it was also mentioned in the instrument of governance that village that the person be mentally sound before he is tried.
He was allowed for treatment to go to another village to meet with medic for treatment. When he reached for treatment in another village, the medic told that you need to take sufficient rest for recovery because in need to bake an herbal medicine in three months after prayers.
The people of that village where the alleged people was under medic treatment, were also advanced and had track record of giving refuge to people having threat to life. The alleged person was given treatment and asylum too when this news reached to the chief of that tribe that he is under life threat. He remained there, before the rules of governance with jirga members were adjusted, a new change happened in the area where each tribal ruler decided to be agree upon some points on their mutual relations particularly trying the alleged people and their extradition to the land where the person had claimed to be alleged for wrongdoings. For years the alleged person lived in another village under the
treatment of medic and tribal refuge, during this period the conditions also changed. He then decided to return back to his village and his trial on breaking of sacred bowl was reopened again in tribal court and he was imprisoned on that allegation. On the mutual accord of the tribal chiefs before the alleged person coming to his tribal village, it was already decided that the person will be imprisoned for the crime but will be pardoned by the tribal chief after some time. Few years later all the people decided to compensate for broken bowl including the alleged person. The ultimate result was that few years later the tribal chief conferred amnesty for the alleged person and he was released from the cell. On his bravery to return back to face trial he was exclaimed for his role and even the tribal chief later offered a position in his court but he declined which further zest for his stature in the whole village. He decided to work for those who are alleged in the tribal court for such kind of allegations in the village in his life until dead.
This fictional story looks like close in this high time for conspiracy theories, coincidences, statements, comments and counter-statements on the ifs and buts on Pervez Musharraf in the country. But it is also true to the extent that Musharaf being the president alleged for the November 3rd country on that case and others in cases underlined under article-6 of the constitution but not alone in the but not alone in the country on that case and others in cases underlined under article-6 of the constitution.
Justice is not when it is selective, injustice is that when alleged is let with impunity. Important is also to mention here is that including Pakistan there are handful countries in the comity of nations have either not entered into an accord or extended capital punishment moratorium. The rights groups and world community do believe in rule of law on reformative justice philosophy than retributive justice system.
The writer is a teacher and freelance journalist based in Chitral.