Double Standards : General Musharraf does not need a safe passage, he merely needs a fair trial

Guest Blog by Amjad Malik

18th August resignation of General (rtd) Pervez Musharraf was the first good thing he has done in many years believing ‘Pakistan first’. Nation was jubilant, lawyers at peace and media calmly letting him go, however, political classes are still unsure on how to manipulate the maximum advantage to this joyful experience. Testing nuclear in a tit for tat was seen as the most memorable and historic event when the nation was overjoyed, but the announcement of ‘Kala Bagh dam’ followed by freezing foreign assets divided public opinion so as the mind of investor as the timing of both was wrong. Similarly ouster of President from his occupation of top slot is a favourite moment to start a new Pakistan, but political forces never could learn to manipulate and multiply nation’s happiness just by feeling the pulse. People wishes the accountability of the man who ruined the institutions, damaged the federation, created distrust amongst provinces and above all endangered the national security of Pakistan. What stops this man to be on trial is the weaknesses of our elite rulers. Of course west would wish to allow this man to go scot free as using his 9 years experience or alternately bringing him to face the court of law would both advantage Pakistan as a state, which they would not wish. Musharraf’s safe exit would keep him safe for future for his masters alone, not for the country.

Its ironic when we compare with what Mark Layall Grant a former British envoy did in order to ease the sufferings of Pakistani President to the very treatment his country gives to its own notorious. In his own land, Ministers are brought to justice and accountability before Parliament indiscriminately without fail. A few glimpses will suffice to give full picture. Their General Oliver Cromwell was tried after his death in 1661 for overthrowing Parliament. In autumn 1660 parliament ordered the exhumation and posthumous execution of several regicides and in January 1661 Westminster Abbey was searched for the remains of Oliver Cromwell and others. Three corpses were duly produced and conveyed to Tyburn, where they were hanged and his body was left at the public place for years as an example.

In July 2001, a Millionaire novelist and Tory member of House of Lords Lord Archer has been jailed for four years after being found guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice. The jury found him guilty of lying and cheating in his 1987 libel case against the Daily Star. The verdicts were unanimous on each count. Lord Archer, who was ordered to pay £175,000 costs within 12 months, was told by the judge he would have to serve at least half of his sentence. In January 2001, The career of Peter Mandelson at the highest political level appeared to be over after his resignation from the cabinet for an unprecedented second time. Mr Mandelson admitted that he had made misleading statements over the passport application of controversial Indian billionaire Srichand Hinduja but denied he had done anything wrong. Mr Mandelson was first forced to quit from the cabinet in 1998 after failing to disclose that he had secretly received a £373,000 loan from his then fellow minister Geoffrey Robinson to buy a house in London. Peter Mandleson resigned in the first and second leg of his Ministerial position for not declaring his loan to the Parliament and for giving misleading statement. In December 2004, David Blunkett quit as home secretary after an e-mail emerged showing a visa application for his partner’s nanny had been fast-tracked. David Blunkett had to resign as the e-mail had said “no favours but slightly quicker”. Mr Blunkett said he had not been aware of its contents and insisted he had done nothing wrong. But he said questions about his honesty had damaged the government.

UK believes that courts must remain free to dispense justice otherwise there will be endless feud between the four provinces who speak different languages and share a unique heritage and culture. However, the standards they expect are different for other countries where they would expect their jailed citizens to get pardon as arms can be twisted as was the case in Mirza Tahir Hussain as there were doubts about free trial and free judiciary in Pakistan until Mr. Iftikhar Choudhary came to salvage that status. Whereas no person or state can pressurise the West to interfere their own judicial system and many are detained in Guantanamo Bay without trial. Pakistani authorities always caved in without asking as they devise ultra constitutional measures to avoid involving judiciary hardly knowing that they themselves are undermining the importance of the respect of higher judiciary. In USA though all are hushing on the impeachment of the President Musharraf but they would love to see their Nixons and Clintons to face impeachment if the matter is that grave.

These countries have double standards on the issue of democracy, free judiciary and accountability as they would sack their ministers for claiming train tickets but would love to seek ‘reconciliation ‘ for the corrupts of others only to save them for future for their own national interest. Our politicians under the cloud can easily play double agent role and can serve them well if the time comes, but at no point our politicians think what is in the best interest of Pakistan. Free and independent judiciary is the core of the demands to curb militancy and political process and democracy is the way forward to curb extremism in our views and attitudes. Its the shuffling of the good with the bad and rooting out the criminals through independent judges from the political arena keeping army at guard is the only way the system can work. Pakistan’s military has sniffed 4 times the fragrance of power, they have assumed the sovereignty of the state more than 40 years out of around 61 years of short life of the country. Its difficult to snatch the peg from the military in this Raleigh race however with wisdom, consultation and joint collaboration its possible to preach sanity. If judges are not restored at this juncture in time, the people of Pakistan who have lost trust on the politicians will lose hope too.

There must at least be one trial of General Musharraf for all charges, he must face it and if found guilty he must be sentenced to what he deserves under the law. Only then the pardon issue arises and if not pardoned this ‘endangered species’ should never be allowed to leave Pakistan. We have allowed the foreign interference in our own home affairs for long, and his is the time that the country shows some courage and declare that the time is gone where Afia Siddiqui’s of Pakistan were handed over to foreign country without due process of law, without judicial oversight and in the absence of any extradition treaty, for some dollars. Its time that the local courts are given the respect it deserves. Full court must hear the case of General Musharraf at least for once. If UK hangs their only dictator General Cromwell even after his death, why Pakistan does not deserve to at least put the man on trial who have brought miseries by sacking and detaining free minded judges twice, sending President home, arresting former premier, sacking parliament, imposing emergency twice, killing Baloch leader Akbar Bugti, allowing Be Nazir to die a few miles away from his home due to lack of security, operation in the capital on a mosque, retaining Uniform in politics, allowing missiles to fall in tribal areas at will, and for selling hundreds to CIA for a few million dollars. At least, Pakistanis deserve to see him on a trial. And even the enemy deserves a dual so he must be given a fair trial, secured entry to court, a lawyer of his own choice and time to get evidence to defend himself. By mere hollow speeches this Nero of Pakistan is not going to be a self declared saviour. Long live Pakistan.

Amjad Malik is a Solicitor-Advocate of the Supreme Court (England) and a political analyst based in UK





4 responses to “Double Standards : General Musharraf does not need a safe passage, he merely needs a fair trial”

  1. Silence Avatar

    What Musharaff deserves is something different what we can do is more important, are political forces that strong to put a powerful general on trial? Khuda ka shukar karo ke dictator se jan chooti and let democracy work, otherwise there will be another 10 years under some new dictator. How powerfull army and establishment is would have been realised by the way Musharraff departed…if he was going to be tries, he would not get the departure.

    This article might give you some insight that how easy its to have head on collision with powerful generals!

  2. temporal Avatar


    i am for fair accountability!

    and that means if musharraf is given a free and fair trial that honour and priviledge must be extended to sharif brothers, asif zardari, chaudhris and many more who also abused their powers when in power

    if musharraf is hanged out to dry and the others who looted and abused their powers go scott free then you and i would be unfair

    and lastly,a reality check:

    to touch musharraf means taking on the army … kaun hay mai ka laal who will bell that cat?

  3. guYasir Avatar

    well 2day topic is Mush whom I call Perverse Musharraff since he decided to went-ahead an amreki ally..
    I’m also a reader of Eric Margolis you may know him very renowned US Journalist. He wrote current article about Mush…

    I gave comment at his page when his comment section was enable now he’s suspended his comment section
    I got praise from one Canadian guy he said ’bout my comments was Unique, Insightful and Poetic.Not bragging just telling truth. I no longer a Politician.

    Henry Kissinger once said “Being an ally of US is more malignant than being her enemy”
    Now that was Mush did with us to being US ally in other words sock-puppet, pure-poodle, hand-in-glove. He destroyed and subverted each and every remaining institution which wasn’t subverted by democracy in Pakistan for instance His assault on Red Mosque gave sign to separation of Mosque and State and his fighting with his own tribesman leading us 2wards hell

  4. guYasir Avatar

    I wanna tell you very important thing. You must consider it with seriously and religiously.
    There’s one authentic Hadith of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) He once cited, those nations who choose woman as their head of State never prosper. Now imagine our condition BB came back Pakistan in 1986-87 and elected PAK PM in 1988 and in my opinion (which is apparent from Hadith as well) that was the time of Pak Persuasive Perversity(PPP)
    Think Again and do research on that Hadith