“There are no crown-bearers in

heaven who were not cross-bearers here below.”


While the debate is raging over Musharraf’s treason trial, the constitution is absolutely clear on the subject but still many complex questions keep cropping up. The worrying thing is that some talk shows’ irresponsible angling has the potential to derail the entire process or at least deprive the General of a fair trial.

The law laid down under the constitution demands that all those who violate the constitution of the country would be tried under Article 6 of the constitution meaning thereby that a case of high treason can be instituted against them. But in the present case only General Musharraf is being tried for imposing emergency although there is good reason to believe that he did not act alone. An entire ‘consultative process’ was followed; the then Prime Minister had complained that it was becoming difficult to govern the country under ordinary laws. Not only is the advice of the Prime Minister on record, but several other relevant characters were also taken into confidence and it was only then that the decision was made.

Recently Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, President of PML-Q admitted on television that he was one of the persons who was consulted and those who are denying any role in the consultative process are in fact liars. According to Chaudhry Shujaat, the trial is nothing but a ruse to deflect attention from inflation, lack of job opportunities and deteriorating law and order.

He suggested it would have been much better if instead of putting the General on trial, the government had set up a reconciliation commission to heal the previous scars suffered by the people and this country.

The country is already being torn apart by the fires of sectarianism, extremism and the scourge of terrorism. On the other hand General Musharraf has been trying to drag senior military officials some of whom are holding important positions even today. He has appealed to the COAS, General Raheel to rescue him. Even though senior members of the top brass might not pay heed to it, it is bound to get some attention after all. While certain politicians have demanded that the army should clarify its position, there has been no official response so far.

The special court set up by former Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry might raise more baffling questions. While there are no two opinions that lawful action against all those who are found guilty of breaking the constitution must be initiated, fairness demands that the trial should include the coup that was engineered by Musharraf which led to the dismissal of the elected government headed by Mian Nawaz Sharif. Some people believe that this has not been done to save those members of the judiciary who were part of the Supreme Court headed by justice Irshad Hassan Khan and also several other persons including serving Generals.

The court that legitimized the first action of Musharraf must also be answerable to this country. However, the proposal of Chaudhry Shujaat requires careful consideration because if a better solution can be found through the process of reconciliation, it would avert the growing despondency.

Several economists have warned that in case the trial drags on for a long period of time, there is every likelihood that the economy will deteriorate. The best strategy is to leave the matter on the court’s judgment. As the trial goes on, the countrymen not used to seeing a General go to a court wait with bated breath.

 The writer has been associated with various newspapers as editor and columnist.