Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Skeptical Treason Trial May Get Messier


The special court is hearing the “high treason case” against the ailing former military ruler Mr. Musharraf who has been undergoing treatment in Rawalpindi’s military hospital for a number of medical issues including heart. According to the doctors, his coronary angiography is needed to optimize the management. They plan to ascertain the possibility of further interventions, like coronary artery bypass surgery. Treatment abroad is a possibility. The medical report has reached the special court and the decision will be made soon.

On the other hand, one of Musharraf’s counsels, Anwar Mansoor, argues that the court has been constituted for a special purpose with limited jurisdictions, due to which it is not entitled to start criminal proceedings and can’t order arrest because that falls under criminal code.

Maybe, a personal vendetta or any political motivation or a ploy to divert attention from the national issues is at play. Let’s wait and see.
The fact is the PPP regime played smart for not going ahead with such a trial, but the N league dared and made the biggest blunder.

Dr. Atta ur Rehman logically destroyed the drama of Musharraf trial in three minutes. While Tahir ul Qadri maintains that justice can’t be selective meaning the singling out of Musharraf, because law is blind. He questioned if government in 1999 was sent home and the constitution was subverted in entirety, yet there is no treason trial. Why is 2007 emergency imposed by President Musharraf is being tried for high treason?
Chaudhry Shujaat recalled that oaths were also taken from the so-called ‘traitor’ in the recent past.

He said if the treason trial is to be carried out then it should be initiated from October 12.1999. Even if the trial is to be started from November 3, 2007, it would affect hundreds of individuals including former army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and PML-Q leader Pervez Elahi. The word ‘Treason’ should not be part of the Constitution. It should be replaced with ‘violator of Constitution’, he maintained.
As all know, Musharraf has been hooked up in numerous judicial cases including the serious murder charges, but he has been granted bails.

The argument that we are forgiving the more serious sin of the military takeover of 12 Oct. 1999 and focusing on the actions of November 3, 2007 is very convincing indeed, where he has been booked under Article 6 (1) which reads: “Anyone 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 any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.”

Nevertheless, the petitioner failed to invoke clause 2 of Article 6; it clearly shows the bad intent of singling out one individual for personal vendetta.
Article 6(2) makes it clear that “any person aiding or abetting the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.”

Unfortunately, only Musharraf was singled out by the 14-member bench of the Apex Court in its judgement of July 31, 2009 which ruled that the declaration of emergency was “unconstitutional, unauthorised and without any legal basis.”

The law is Article 232 permits the President to impose Emergency Rule under certain situations.
Article 232(1) allows the President to tackle a grave emergency if security of Pakistan is threatened, or any part thereof, by war or external aggression, or by internal disturbance beyond the power of a provincial government to control, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency. Thus, imposing emergency rule is not similar to “treason.”

In 2007, suspending or holding the constitution in abeyance was not an act of high treason. In 2010, however, suspending and holding the constitution in abeyance became an act of high treason. It is legally and rationally ridiculous to retroject this backwards to try Pervez Musharraf for having allegedly committed ‘high treason.’
Therefore, Article 6 is not applicable upon a single individual. It talks about a joint venture/ a team work.

All involved in the conspiracy directly or indirectly are to be tried. Furthermore, the 18th Amendment has made the 17th Amendment null and avoid. This means that the 1999 Military (counter) coup is still open to investigation and no longer enjoys protection. All validation stickers are null and void. Therefore, if we are to abide by the requirements of Articles 25 & 6 of the Pakistani Constitution and apply the High Treason Act, we are to charge each and every individual involved directly and indirectly in the 1999 Army coup. This includes, all previous Army coups, including the coup carried out by the late President General Zia ul Haq.

Since, legitimizing the Military’s takeover using the “doctrine of necessity” argument was quite common, we need the following Solution: The criminal and civil wrongs are allowed to be done in village and the tribal culture, the votes for whole village/tribe are decided by other than the actual voter.

In order to have a genuine democracy, the prevalent electoral system needs to be replaced sooner the better to stop the criminal elite from taking undue advantage from it and reaching the parliament or other public office.
Only the educated and sensible people of integrity must be given the right of electing the right candidates who have utmost integrity, ability and WILL to deliver.
And, the current regime is obligated to comfort the suffering public through dealing with the real issues of economic uplift; avoiding the non issues will be a much better route, of course.
It’s necessary to have a genuine civilian government in power. This will stop future military take over.
Since law is blind, justice can’t be selective.
Let’s learn to respect the law and constitution.
Only genuine democracy is capable of safeguarding the interests of all individuals and the institutions.


2 comments:

Tariq.MJ said...

Only military courts have jurisdiction in this case.
The Pakistan Army act, as amended in 1978, covers the charges of "treason" as well as those pertaining to matters of military discipline committed by a uniformed officer of the Pakistan Army.
This special court has NO jurisdiction on members of the armed forces even when the charge is that of treason. They are to be tried under the Pakistan Army Act through a proceeding under a court martial.
Unfortunately, the special has rejected that plea of the respondent (the embattled ex army chief).

Tariq.MJ said...

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