The hurt and anguish that ripped through the community of the armed forces on the day of the Musharraf verdict has not lost its intensity. The COAS yesterday visited the SSG headquarters, former home of General Pervez Musharraf. After all, the uniform of a soldier is forever, his very skin; it can never be shed. The same way, General Pervez Musharraf is still regraded in the community of the armed forces as a fellow soldier.

In a community where parents offer their sons and daughters for noble and selfless service, where children look for parents who risk their lives to protect us in our homes, where martyrs are buried in the uniform they served in, draped in the star and crescent flag — it is unthinkable for them that one from among their ranks could be found guilty and sentenced for treason.

Our armed forces serve with bravery, and with the knowledge that they have the confidence and the prayers of the Pakistani people at their back. It is this unique relationship that shelters Pakistan from harm, and rankles in the eyes of its enemies. And this relationship must be protected at all costs.

Not just the treason verdict, but the mandatory death penalty meted out as well, has raised eyebrows because General Musharraf is greatly unwell. His interest in politics was not encouraged, nor did his party receive support at the polls. For all intents he was retired from public life, with no intent or possibility to re-enter in an active role. His health would not allow it, were he even to have support and encouragement. The verdict and sentence being announced for a person in such a condition gave somber pause to all.

General Musharraf could have presented himself in court and vociferously argued his case. Yet, if the same judgement were to be announced the shock and hurt would be no less.

No other persons involved in the same offence have been charged, and in fact some of the persons who were the most effective and active members of the Musharraf cabinet are still in the present day cabinet. This would mean that one person has been singled out for exemplary punishment, while the others continue quietly on their paths, more successful now in the same field than ever. The same field they entered and achieved fame in, riding on the coat tails of the then world-famous President Musharraf.

The aftershocks and ripples of the verdict are still to be felt. There is no doubt the verdict made history. Whether this is a healing balm or a fresh wound, we will discover in the coming weeks, months and years.