Face the music, Mr Musharraf

Prime Minister Gilani and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif have called upon General (retd) Pervez Musharraf to appear before the Supreme Court. They demanded that since the former president has decided to come back to Pakistan, he must appear before the apex court and face the music. In the not-so-distant past, ‘Go Musharraf go’ slogans were quite popular but now we are witnessing something quite the opposite. Not only does Mr Musharraf himself want to come back to Pakistan but his political opponents want him back as well, albeit for different reasons.

General (retd) Musharraf is planning a comeback to re-launch his political career. “Whenever the next elections are held, whether they are end-term or mid-term, I will return to Pakistan before that,” said the former president. In August 2008, Musharraf decided to step down from the presidency after his popularity hit rock bottom and all the houses of parliament (including the provincial assemblies) passed unanimous resolutions for him to depart. After staying out of the country for more than a year now, Musharraf said that the PPP and the PML-N have failed to govern properly, thus he has decided to come into politics (again) on ‘public demand’. If he thinks that having more than a few hundred thousand ‘fans’ on Facebook (which has recently been banned indefinitely in Pakistan) means that the public wants him back, Mr Musharraf must be living in some delusional world. But since he wants to ‘serve’ his country so badly, he should come back and face all that he is charged with. From a coup d'état to the murders of Baloch leaders Akbar Bugti and Balaach Marri, from dismissing the chief justice and declaring emergency to his role in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Mr Musharraf has a lot to answer for. Recent comments by former army chief General Kakar that Musharraf “committed a big mistake” by launching a military operation in Balochistan makes it pertinent that Mr Musharraf clarifies why he decided to oppress the already battered Baloch people. He also needs to tell the world why he adopted a dual policy vis-à-vis the Taliban that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently hinted at.

If Mr Musharraf is ready to come back, he should also be ready to clear himself of all these and other charges before he can take part in the elections.

(my editorial in Daily Times)


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