FORMER president Pervez Musharraf resigned from the presidency on Aug 18, 2008. He had taken over on Oct 12, 1999, a total period of nine years and six days and not 10 years as people are told falsely by his opponents. On Aug 18, 2008, he was given a guard of honour by Pakistan’s three armed forces.
He returned to his homeland on March 24. Since then he has been a victim of witch-hunt by some people who are after his blood.
People should know that British General Cromwell was tried for treason for dishonouring the British parliament but no action was taken against him in his lifetime. After two generations, he was tried and found guilty. His body was exhumed, hanged and then again buried. His head was stuck on a pole. We are also having the British system. Therefore, it is imperative that in our case those rulers who violated the constitution by imposing martial law should be tried. The start must take place in the following sequence:
Field Marshal Ayub Khan for declaring martial law; Gen Yahya Khan for declaring martial law; the late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the first civilian martial law administrator, and Gen Ziaul Haque for declaring martial law.
Musharraf did not abrogate the constitution and did not impose martial law; he only imposed emergency, as was done by Indira Gandhi. She was allowed to contest an election which she won and became prime minister a second time.
In Musharraf’s case, the constitution was operative and he himself took up the designation of Chief Executive. A rule of three years and the authority to make minor changes to the constitution were given to him by a full bench of the Supreme Court for carrying out the seven-point agenda he had outlined in his first speech after taking over the rein of government.
It is, therefore, beyond a doubt that he did not abrogate the constitution and as such cannot be and should not be tried for treason. He improved the economy and looked after the welfare of the have-nots of Pakistan for the first three years. These three years should be written in golden letters in the history of Pakistan.According to the Supreme Court order, he managed to have an election before the end of the three years and brought a parliament back into existence after fresh elections in 2002.
After another five years, Musharraf managed to have a new election in 2008 and ruled as president for five years with the help of the parliament, federal cabinet, provincial governors, chief ministers and the assemblies. He resigned himself. Now he has come to his homeland without any fear.
I am a very senior citizen and a former MNA, and the first chairman of the Pakistan Engineering Council. I participated in the Pakistan movement in my college days, campaigning for Dr Ziauddin Ahmed, the Vice Chancellor for Aligarh Muslim University, for the Imperial Legislative Council.
Last but not least, my appeal to the people of Paksitan is to remain united and become a force to reckon with. As Pakistan’s first prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan said unity is our main weapon.
Karachi (Dawn, April 14, 2013)