PANDORA’S BOX By Dr. Ismat Kamal

On December 11 by admin

In his book “The Impact of Science on Society”, Bertrand Russel has narrated how Aristotle, the world renowned philosopher, “maintained that women have fewer teeth than men;  although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives’ mouths.”  The point Russel was making here was that prejudice (in this case, against women) and perception can often cloud a person’s common sense and sense of justice.

After losing out on three false, fabricated cases against former President Parvez Musharraf, after failing in their attempt to persuade him to take a safe exit (reported by Ahmad Hasan of the ‘Jang’, Pakistan, on November 13,  2013 and  confirmed by an APML spokesperson in a talk show, not denied by the government), the powers that be are seeking high treason trial against  Musharraf  under Article 6 of the Constitution.  For obvious reasons, the prosecution is expected to focus more on the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) of November 3, 2007 rather than the preceding Proclamation of Emergency, which had furnished ground for the PCO.

The case seems to be prejudiced ab initio, because a July 31st, 2013 order by the Supreme Court of Pakistan had already held Parvez Musharraf  solely responsible for the PCO, disregarding the statement made in the Proclamation of Emergency that the situation had been reviewed in meetings with the Prime Minister, Governors of all the four Provinces, and with Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chiefs of the Armed Forces, Vice Chief of Army Staff and Corps Commanders of the Pakistan Army, and emergency was proclaimed in pursuance of the deliberations and decisions of the said meetings.

It looks like their lordships were making the same mistake that Aristotle had made nearly 3,000 years back:  it did not occur to them to verify the statement by calling the referees to the witness stand, and asking them to testify on oath that they were not consulted.

By a strange feat of logic and deduction, their lordships had concluded that the Proclamation of Emergency emanated from Musharraf’s person,  because of  the words ‘I, General Pervez Musharraf…….’  used in it.”  Biased media and politicians in Pakistan are hung up on the same theme.

Small things appeal to small minds.  They have forgotten what responsibility and real leadership are all about.  President  Harry S. Truman, thirty-third president of the USA, had a sign on his desk saying,  “The Buck Stops Here”.  A true leader consults with his team in accordance with democratic and Islamic (mushaawarat) principles, but does not hide under All Parties Conferences (APCs) and other means of passing the buck.  Musharraf was such a leader.  Hence, the words ‘I, General Pervez Musharraf’ in the proclamation.

Article 6 holds aiders and abettors equally responsible.  Justice will not be served unless the people referred to in the PCO are brought to the witness stand. The eminent persons in Musharraf’s cabinet were Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister, Aftab Ahmad Sherpao,  Interior Minister, Zahid Hamid, Law Minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Minister for Railways, Tariq Azeem Khan, Minister for Information, Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri, Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, Economic Minister, Dr Attaur Rehman, Adviser to the PM on Science and Technology and Javed Ashraf Qazi, Education Minister.  In Punjab, Chaudhry  Pervez Elahi was the chief minister while former Lahore Corp Commander Khalid Maqbool was the governor.  Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim was chief minister, Sindh while Dr Ishratul Abad was governor.  Similarly, late Jam Mir Muhammad Yousaf was CM of Baluchistan and Nawab Zulfiqar Ahmad Magsi was the governor.  In Khyber PK (then NWFP), a caretaker CM was in the office while Awais Ahmad Ghani was the governor.  In the armed forces, Air Chief Tanvir Mehmood Ahmad was the Chief of the Air Staff, and Admiral Muhammad Afzal was the Naval Chief.  Lt Gen Tariq Majeed was the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Lt Gen Ashfaq Parvaiz Kayani was the Vice Chief of Army Staff,  Lt Gen Salahuddin Satti, was Chief of General Staff and Lt Gen Nadeem Taj was DG, ISI.

To make matters worse, rather than appointing a full bench of the Supreme Court  as befits a case of such import that  involves the life of a human being, the federal government, plaintiff in this case, was given the right to handpick three judges from a pre-handpicked list of five. It is true that the judges have been picked on the basis of seniority, but justice was compromised when this authority was given to the government.

Poor Musharraf, although he himself doesn’t think so, and would be very angry with anyone who did.  But what justice can he expect?

“Baney hain ahl-e-hawis muddayee bhee munsif  bhee

Kisey wakeel kareiN kis sey munsifee chaaheiN”

(The agents of greed have become both the plaintiff and the judge:

Who shall we appoint as our judge? From whom shall we expect justice?)

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