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Voice of trial in a variety of courts  

By Alhaj Muhammad Khan Former President Pervez Musharraf has been going through a critical stage of his life for a couple of months on the accusation which ultimately led to the demand for his trial under Article-6 of the constitution. However, a majority of the people in Chitral want to see the whole process otherwise. There is a hue and cry in the country for the trial of Musharraf and almost all the TV channels have concluded their trial of the ex-president. Some anchorpersons are still giving reference to the case, while discussing quibbling topics among politicians, not often inviting analyst of calibre to dive deep into the socio-economic, political and economic dynamics of an issue. It can, however, safely be said that media particularly private TV channels did put Pervez Musharraf to trial. The senate had passed a resolution on April 17 on initiation of legal proceeding against Musharraf on charge of high treason which carries capital punishment. The new PM n on June 30 declared on the floor of the National Assembly that Musharraf would be tried ‘for his act of 3rd November 2007; not for October 1999. The major ruling party’s declaration on the floor gives an indication that they want to go ahead with the process of trial with the support of all parties. PPP leader and president’s spokesperson while speaking on July 7 at a function organized by PPP Youth wing at Hyderabad denounced Ziaul Haq’s takeover of 5th July, 1977 and renewed his call for trial of treason of former President Musharraf and his collaborators. Here one points glaring the indicative of PPP to put pressure on ruling party and the burden of Musharraf’s trial on former’s shoulder, as the same political tactics has been used by this party soon after PPP government came into power in Feb, 2008. This is what the parliamentary and political trial of Musharraf having been in the country. The apex court of Pakistan directed the federal govt to investigate the charges against the former military ruler expeditiously. Even the three days given to the attorney general by the court to present the government’s vie on the trial under Article-6 also shows the court’s commitment to justice.  Every judge swears to “discharge my duties, and perform my functions, honestly, to the best of my ability and faithfully in accordance with the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the law”: hence some of the writers opine that court is per-se an aggrieved party after 3rd Nov, would it be able with no predisposition to be independent. It is a general opinion in the country that when generals are not tried for undermining constitution the road for future military adventurism may likely continue.  Some of the legal experts are also of the opinion that the collaborator may also face the court but some writers do say that Musharraf should be tried alone an individual, his abettor were not Nazi collaborators; gives a sign of selective justice, to me as well. Selecting a single military ruler without starting from Ayub Khan, gives a ‘smell of vengeance rather than justice’ says a house of rights’ activists. It is also worth considering that a class of Lawyers, Human right activists, media persons and politicians while addressing a seminar held by Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) in collaboration with Lahore Press Club (LPC) only trial of former President Musharraf for treason demanded the trial of those who subverted, abrogated and suspended the constitutions since 1956 and their collaborators and aides be tried so that justice is done. Now a day Musharraf trial has been in the court of apex and rights activists’ court. A moratorium imposed by previous Govt, also praised at the time by rights group, expired on 30 June. Pakistan is believed to have one the world’s largest population on the row of capital punishment-7,164 according to official prison record and number puts by Pakistan Human rights commission is 8,000. Around 150 countries in the whole world abolished capital punishment on UN behest and Pakistan is under focus of UN and EU with Amnesty International concerning Musharraf after no extending UN moratorium on capital punishment. A.I urges the EU to call for an immediate suspension of execution and immediately abolishing death penalty in Pakistan. The situation particularly in Chitral is different from the rest of the country. It is ample to prove that in the election of May 21, in NA-32 and PK-89 that the majority of the people of Chitral voted to the candidates came from the platform of APML. It was very tough for new and fresh candidate to contest and win election against JUI-F, PTI and even PPP candidate but it was the Musharraf factor and sympathy vote for, changed the fortune of APML candidates in Chitral. It would be interesting to know that why the people of Chitral have penchant and predilection for and they voted for Musharraf. One among the reasons of public support to Musharraf was starting work on Tunnelsing Lowari Pass and eulogizing the culture and peace of Chitral in media. Lowari Pass has taken numerous lives of Chitrali’s and kept Chitral detached with the rest of the country no less than five months every year. Once the people moved on winter season to cross Lowari Pass either eaten up by avalanches and subzero/minus temperature or they had to take long detour to Afghanistan through Bajaur cost the people to pay handsome money to armed Children standing on the road side even lost lives, on without paying demanded sum. Closure of this road has always been given rise to inflation and shortage of commodities in Chitral means a critical problem for the poor people of Chitral to keep continue family subsistence without doing work for 4/5 months. Soon after tunnelising Lowari Pass, everything particularly food items have become available on reasonable price in local market even mobile service providers made available everything one everyone’s doorstep in Chitral. After tunnelising Lowari pass-though still incomplete, even today every political leader in Chitral used to take credit and speaks for; not only opens all-weather road for Chitral but also turned Chitral into an economic corridor for investment and business. It is also true with the people of Chitral that they never made a formal call and protest in support of Musharaf or against his trial but the public mandate to his party candidates in election is the testimony of decision of the people of Chitral in public court. Most of the people of Chitral are supporting Musharaf for his service rendered to Chitral not in the context of capital punishment as rights activitsts in the country and the world demanding for. Musharaf is also eulogized in Chitral on participating as head of the state on an important festival of Shandur (has been postponed to be held after the holy month of Ramadan) celebrated on the world’s highest free-polo ground; also bolstered public support in his favour. The people of Chitral expressed their decision in public court like other peoples, groups, agencies and Institutions that ‘right to life’ in Article 9 of the constitution is violated when a life is taken by state. Setting a precedent‘rarest of rare standard’ would give Pakistan a credible stature only by the rule of law, supremacy of the constitution by considering the human rights as inviolable. Punishment is no longer a deterrent to nib the crime into bud but only reformative steps may bring change with socio-economic and political justice. The state of Pakistan is also bound morally and it is its legal obligation to protect its ex-President and COAS from harm’s way. The writer is a teacher and works as a free lance journalist based in Chitral. He can be reached at  ]]>

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