By Aziz Narejo, TX, USA
It is being reported that the Pakistani Government and military dictator Musharraf have reached a deal and the latter may fly out of Pakistan soon. He could resign and leave as soon as tomorrow (Monday). If that happens, it would be another black day (we have plenty of them, more than we deserve) for rule of law, justice and democracy.
The present government has the mandate and the support of the people to change things. They can impeach the dictator and try him for high treason and other heinous crimes. The government should book him for the murder of Benazir Bhutto and Akbar Bugti. A fair trial of the dictator should close the doors on any future military intervention in civil society and establish supremacy of the will of the people and the Constitution.
But if he is given safe passage and indemnity, nothing of substance is going to change for the people and the country. The military establishment will continue to have upper hand in the affairs of the state. The vicious cycle of 10 or so years of inept civilian governments and then a long spell of dictatorial military regimes would continue unabated. The country will be ruled under One Unit system with over centralization of powers. Provinces will not get any meaningful autonomy and all decisions would be made in Rawalpindi and Islamabad and people in smaller provinces would continue to suffer.
The people and the civil society must call upon the government to review its deal with Musharraf if it has really agreed to one and follow the Constitution and the law of the land in the case of the military dictator and all other matters. I would again request all of you to please read the following petition and sign it if you agree with it.
Please respect your opinion and let it known to the government. If we remain silent, we would be as guilty as any of the members of the ruling government who would let Musharraf fly out of the country without answering for his crimes.
To: Government of Pakistan, World Leaders
(We, the undersigned ask the government of Pakistan not to give dictator Musharraf a safe passage or indemnity and we call upon the world leaders not to offer him a safe haven in their countries.)
Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharraf who seized power on October 12, 1999 in a coup against an elected government has committed heinous crimes against the people and the country. He has violated the Constitution, dissolved the elected assemblies, compromised sovereignty of the country, destroyed institutions, waged war on own people, murdered political leaders and innocent citizens, caused disharmony among provinces, created divisions among the people, weakened the foundations of the country, threatened its integrity and ruined the economy bringing untold of miseries to the masses.
As his rule finally draws to a close with the present coalition government calling for his impeachment, some of his allies have started lobbying for a safe passage and indemnity for the dictator. Such moves are against the norms of law and also against the wishes of the people of Pakistan who want the dictator to be tried for the crimes he has committed against the citizens and the country. The people also want his collaborators, abettors and partners in crime to be brought to justice.
The four provincial assemblies of Pakistan have already called upon the dictator to either seek a vote of confidence or face impeachment. The Parliament is soon to take up the impeachment, which is an important step to establish the supremacy of the will of the people and the Constitution. The country and the people have suffered enough under military dictators. The people’s hopes and aspirations have been dashed and a gloom and despondency has set in. The only sure way to move forward and to stop any future military intervention in civil society is to impeach and hold the military dictator responsible for his crimes.
We, the undersigned ask the government of Pakistan not to give dictator Musharraf a safe passage or indemnity and we call upon the world leaders not to offer him a safe haven in their countries. We call upon them to consider some of his crimes as follows:
1. Violation of the Constitution:
A) He acted against the Constitution of Pakistan in 1999, overthrew an elected government and dissolved assemblies thus being liable to be tried for high treason under Article 6 of the Constitution, which says that:
“6. High treason.
(1) Any person who abrogates or attempts or conspires to abrogate, subverts or attempts or conspires to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.
(2) Any person aiding or abetting the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.
(3) Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) shall by law provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of high treason.”
B) Dictator Musharraf violated the Constitution again on 3rd November, 2007 when he imposed emergency, which has been termed as mini-Martial Law and destroyed judiciary in the country. He is on record to have said that he acted extra-constitutiona lly on 3rd November, 2007.
2. Violation of oath:
He violated the oath prescribed for the members of the armed forces under Article 244 of the Constitution. It says:
“(In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.)
I, ____________ , do solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan and uphold the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan which embodies the will of the people, that I will not engage myself in any political activities whatsoever and that I will honestly and faithfully serve Pakistan in the Pakistan Army (or Navy or Air Force) as required by and under the law.
May Allah Almighty help and guide me (A’meen).”
3. Military operation in Balochistan, murder of Akbar Bugti:
He launched a military operation in Balochistan, committed atrocities against the citizens, threatened the people with dire consequences and is responsible for the assassination of veteran Baloch leader Akbar Bugti, Balach Mari and several others. He should be charged for their murder and the crimes he has committed against the people of Balochistan.
4. Assassination of Benazir Bhutto:
He is a main suspect in the assassination of popular leader and twice elected prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto. The slain leader in communication to a US lobbyist and a newsman had said that in case of her assassination, Musharraf should be held responsible. A recent published book has revealed that Musharraf had warned Benazir Bhutto that her safety depended on her relationship with him. Musharraf should be booked as a main suspect in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
5. Illegal referendum, formation of king’s party and manipulations in government making:
He held an illegal and unconstitutional referendum to perpetuate his rule and manipulated 2002 elections and used intelligence agencies to put together a “king’s party” and manufacture governments in the provinces and the center denying the real representatives of the people to form governments. That is a serious crime against democracy and the Constitution.
6. Handing over Sindh to terrorist organization MQM:
However rigged the 2002 elections were, the PPP had still emerged as the largest single party in Sindh. He denied the right of the PPP to form a government in Sindh and instead using intelligence agencies imposed the terrorist organization MQM on the province. The terroris organization MQM usurped the rights of the majority and established hegemony in almost all sectors of life and economy.
7. Enforced disappearances:
Musharraf used intelligence agencies for nefarious designs and arrested, confined and imprisoned a large number of people without any charges and without their kith and kin or the courts of law knowing their whereabouts. Many of such disappeared people later surfaced in the custody of foreign governments without any legal extradition procedures. It is believed that he and his relations and friends have collected large sums of bounty for illegal extraditions. He must face charges on this account in a court of law.
8. Attack on judiciary:
He illegally deposed the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Choudhry on 9th March 2007, subjected him to torture and unlawfully confined him and his family including small children disallowing anyone to see him or his children going to schools. The Supreme Court on 20th July 2007 in a landmark decision overthrew his illegal orders and reinstated the Chief Justice.
9. Another attack on judiciary:
He attacked the judiciary again on 3rd November, 2007, enforced emergency, a Martial Law in real terms, acted against the Constitution and deposed 60 superior court judges in one go imprisoning most of them.
10: May 12 massacre and other bloodshed:
He used his collaborators MQM to launch a reign of terror in Karachi on May 12th, 2007 to stop the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Choudhry from visiting the provincial metropolis. The MQM terrorists blocked major roads, brought the life to standstill and using heavy weapons killed and injured scores of people. Dictator Musharraf celebrated the massacre in an Islamabad meeting and called it a “show of force” of his collaborators MQM and a warning for anyone who dared to “trespass” the territory of the rogue Karachi based terrorists.
He and his staunch ally MQM are also said to be responsible for October 18 attack on Benazir Bhutto’s homecoming rally in Karachi that killed and injured scores of people. His collaborators are also responsible for April 9 massacre in Karachi where besides other killings and acts of arson a number of lawyers and their visitors/clients were burned alive by his allied MQM terrorists.
11. NFC Award:
He violated the Article 160 of the Constitution and failed to constitute the National Finance Commission thus denied Sindh and other provinces their due share in the revenues, taxes, grants and other financial resources. The relevant Clause 160 of the Constitution says:
“160. National Finance Commission.
(1) Within six months of the commencing day and thereafter at intervals not exceeding five years, the President shall constitute a National Finance Commission consisting of the Minister of Finance of the Federal Government, the Ministers of Finance of the Provincial Governments, and such other persons as may be appointed by the President after consultation with the Governors of the Provinces. (2) It shall be the duty of the National Finance Commission to make recommendations to the President as to-
(a) the distribution between the Federation and the Provinces of the net proceeds of the taxes mentioned in clause (3);
(b) the making of grants-in-aid by the Federal Government to the Provincial Governments;
(c) the exercise by the Federal Government and the Provincial Governments of the borrowing powers conferred by the Constitution; and
(d) any other matter relating to finance referred to the Commission by the President. ….”
12. Illegal election as president:
He had taken over the power illegally and perpetuated his rule through an unconstitutional referendum and a so-called vote of confidence from the Electoral College. All his acts as well as his election to presidency in 2007 was in clear violation of the Constitution. The Clause 43 says:
“43. Conditions of President’s office.
(1) The President shall not hold any office of profit in the service of Pakistan or occupy any other position carrying the right to remuneration for the rendering of services. …”
At that time he was still Chief of Army Staff.
13. Murder of Hamad Raza:
Musharraf is a main suspect in the murder of the Additional Registrar of the Supreme Court of Pakistan Hamad Raza who was killed in mysterious conditions soon after the illegal action against the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan, Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Choudhry. He is alleged to have been killed as he refused to “cooperate” in providing “evidence” against the Chief Justice.
14. Absolving a rapist:
Musharraf misused his illegal authority and acted as a “judge” to absolve a military official who was accused of raping a lady doctor in Sui, Balochistan without allowing any legal process to take place. He used government power to force the victim leave the country. On a visit to USA, he shamelessly said that women in Pakistan invite rape to seek a visa to western countries.
15. Lal Masjid:
He is responsible for the gross mishandling of the Lal Masjid Islamabad issue that resulted in the murder of a large number of students, teachers and others including women and children.
16. War against own people in Pukhtoon areas:
He is responsible for the mishandling of the situation in the Pukhtoon tribal areas, the worsening of situation there and the murder and mayhem and migration of population on a large scale.
17. Murder of a Lawyer Mr. Iqbal:
He is a main suspect in the murder of a lawyer Mr. Iqbal who had publicly said that he would prove in a court of law beyond any doubt that Musharraf’s plane hijack in October 1999 was a drama to frame Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He is accused of using MQM terrorists to kill the outspoken lawyer.
18. Attacks on lawyers and media:
He unleashed a reign of terror against lawyers and media during the lawyers’ struggle for the restoration of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. He put behind bars some lawyers and journalists, threatened several others with dire consequences and closed some media channels that tried to be objective.
19. Steel Mills case:
He is responsible for the major scandal of the Pakistan Steel Mills “give away”. He, his hand-picked Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and others involved in the case must stand trial.
There are several other charges of corruption, misconduct, atrocities, murder, highhandedness, misuse of authority, aiding and abetting terrorists, etc against dictator Musharraf and his collaborators. It is must that he and his accomplices face the law instead of given safe passage and indemnity. It would be another serious crime against the people and the country if he is not brought to the book.
Sincerely, The Undersigned