Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Musharraf returns: Give the devil his due!


The former dictator is back, and this time, he is not wearing his uniform. I seriously do not know what our dear Commando is up to; do I hear anyone chanting “Pervez Musharraf Zindabad”?

However, his return has made me recall the years from 1999 to 2008. Almost 10 long years! We used to have less bomb blasts then, less load-shedding and commodities were available at much cheaper prices.

After Musharraf, we were constantly told that “democracy is the best revenge”. Now that the government is over, it is our turn to take revenge. But does that mean we should give amnesty to Musharraf for his unconstitutional moves?

Yes, our ‘elected’ politicians failed to deliver. After five years of acute mismanagement, they could not even forge consensus on the caretaker prime minister.

These years of democratic rule were surely a mess.

That is to the status quo, during Pervez Musharraf’s era were surely much better than they are now. But does that absolve him of all the crimes he committed?

Shall he not be tried for overthrowing the democratically elected government, for starting the Kargil war and not taking the prime minister into confidence, for committing crimes against humanity, for the murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti or for the massive loss of lives at Red Mosque?

Shall we give a warm welcome to Musharraf on his return?

Musharraf was an army chief, and the army is known to take care of the fraternity, but Musharraf is also a criminal. He overruled the Constitution, which he was supposed to protect. After 9/11, his decisions jeopardised the country’s safety.

These are serious crimes indeed. And if the army tries to shield Musharraf from prosecution for these offences, it can bring a bad name to the organisation. Aiding a criminal is also a crime and Musharraf should be given exemplary punishment for his crimes.

Therefore, he should face the courts like an ordinary politician, without the help from men in uniform. Men in uniform should also keep their distance from him. If he is tried and brought to justice, the army should not interfere and should accept the decision of the courts.

I strongly recommend that we give the devil his due.

This was originally published in Express Tribune.