Dr Farooq Hassan Wherever one goes one is accosted with the question of Pervez Musharrafs future but the unfolding events in Pakistan make it difficult to be dogmatic about the answer. The difficulty lies in the awareness that while the line of inquiries seems straightforward, the imponderable of placing clear responsibility on those responsible for running the country is increasingly impossible to identify. However, the judiciary, in which the current political future is destined to be decided, is about to play a role seldom played by the judges in any country in recent memory. This concerns the NRO, which has become the foundation of many important governmental decisions. Having said that I am convinced that Nawaz Sharif missed the boat axiomatically when on August 27, 2008, he decided at the eleventh hour that he would not challenge the nomination of Zardari for president. Unfortunately, Mian Sahib has still not grasped the truth of the continuity of the present regimes agenda of Musharrafs regime it seems Moreover, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khans decision to introduce a resolution in the National Assembly demanding Musharrafs trial is presumably not going to be fulfilled. Speaking at a Pakistan Day function, his party chief rightly pointed out that there was no need for a parliamentary resolution to try the former dictator. While reminding the government of its duty to prosecute the former dictator, Sharifs tone was less strident this time, as he seems to have realised the major hitch in the way of the trial. This has led him to appeal to the military to sever ties with Musharraf, not prevent his trial, and instead file a lawsuit against him. If a common man is punished for ordinary violations, why spare a person who put in abeyance the countrys constitution and indulged in a number of adventures that hurt Pakistan? The argument that Musharraf has already been punished by being ousted from power and forced to live abroad is worse than Chamberlains appeasement of Adolph Hitler in the 1930s. Of what use is Article 6 of the constitution if coup plotters are to be overlooked. What is more, any failure to punish him is likely to encourage any potential adventurer who might desire to overthrow an elected government. Mian Nawaz, therefore, is not off the mark when he says that making an example of Musharraf is needed to block the way of martial law. But he has to do something practical in this regard. Meanwhile Musharraf remains undeterred from the resolve to return to take over the country through his former state level friends. Talking to a private channel on August 14, he again tendered unsolicited advice to the government on how it should deal with the problems it faces. In another statement he reiterated the determination to return to the country soon. There is a lot of speculation that Musharraf is able to say this on account of the guarantees given by the US, the UK and Saudi Arabia. When Prime Minister Gilani hinted in the National Assembly on August 19 that the institution of a treason case against Musharraf was not doable, he was actually alluding to those unwritten assurances provided to the former military ruler from the ruling coalition, military leadership and Pakistans trusted international friends in the week that followed his resignation from the office on August 18, 2008. Asking the opposition led by the PML-N not to play to the gallery on the issue of Musharrafs trial, the prime minister advised the House: We should do what is doable, without elaborating the contours of what he meant by doable. The PML-N on August 20 staged a walkout from the National Assembly against the remarks of the PM on linking the trial of Musharraf to a consensus resolution, while Chaudhry Nisar promised that irrespective of the governments position, the PML-N would keep demanding Musharrafs trial for treason charges. No one, including Nawaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the PPP, Asfandyar Wali, has the right to pardon Musharraf, who has violated the constitution, he added. So the question remains unanswered: Who will defend the constitution? Is it the government? Or is it the judiciary? Or is it the politicians who apparently want nothing more than to keep the largesse of benefits that incumbency brings? In more ways than one, it is really up to Nawaz Sharif to do something, which makes a difference to this status quo. He can keep the Punjab government but at what cost? Or is it left to the Parliament to do so when its leader says it is not doable? The writer is an advocate.