Musharraf to face the death penalty?

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US Military support to Pakistan Government Earthquake ReliefArticle: Ravinesh Sakaran – Contributors

[dropcaps round=”no”]P[/dropcaps]akistani politics is definitely a unique animal by itself; Canadian politics is undeniably in the minor league in comparison. Military coup d’états, assassinations, and corruption to the highest levels of public office has been the nature of the game since Pakistan’s independence from their British colonial masters.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is being charged for treason. If found guilty of treason, Musharraf faces life in prison or, worse, the death penalty.

Revenge is certainly a dish best served cold for current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who took over as the head of government after 14 years for a miraculous third time. Nawaz Sharif served as the Prime Minister of Pakistan from November 1990 to July 1993 and from February 1997 to October 1999, when an untimely military coup by Musharraf (then General of the Pakistan Army) ousted him as Prime Minister, subsequently forcing him into exile to Saudi Arabia.

Nawaz Sharif undeniably knows how to keep a grudge, he returned to Pakistan in 2007 to challenge Musharraf’s dictatorial regime. His party lost, but he waited only to take care of unfinished business in 2013 when his party won a supermajority.

Although the feud between Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf stems from the 1990s, Nawaz Sharif administration’s allegations of Musharraf’s treason seem to be well grounded.  Musharraf is facing charges of treason for his role in imposing emergency military rule in November 2007: suspending the constitution, replacing the Chief Judge and causing a media blackout that shut down independent TV and news agencies.

This state of emergency caused uproar among Pakistanis and also from democracy advocates from the West. Musharraf lifted the state of emergency and called for an election. That election dealt a serious blow to his party, which later led him to step down in 2008.

Musharraf’s spokesperson said that the former military chief is willing to face all charges against him.

Aasia Ishique told CNN that, “Gen. Musharraf has full faith in the judiciary and trusts the legal system to clear his name. He is a man of his word, and he will let the court decide his fate.”

Musharraf has defended himself, stating that he enacted the state of emergency to stabilize the country and to fight rising Islamist extremism. In my humble opinion, this is a load of horse shit. The ISI (the Pakistani equivalent of the CIA) under Musharraf’s regime has been famous for fostering terrorist relationships and Islamic extremism, if there was any tension in Pakistan at that time, it wouldn’t be a far cry if Musharraf was the chief architect for all the hostility.

If Musharraf is convicted, don’t be surprised to see some unrest in Pakistan, considering there are many hero worshippers and Musharraf loyalists. However, I don’t foresee a revolution or a regime change in Pakistan, as the younger Pakistanis are looking for a different kind of politics in Pakistan’s political house of cards.

Word has it that the son of Pakistan’s first female Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (who was tragically assassinated in 2007) has returned from his studies from Oxford to continue the Bhutto’s political dynasty. He has taken over as the president of the Pakistan Peoples Party and is now being groomed to be the next Prime Minister come 2018. Will Bilal Bhutto be the savior of Pakistani’s future? Only time will tell.

[button style=”e.g. solid, border” size=”e.g. small, medium, big” link=”” target=””]Image: Timothy Smith[/button]

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