The Day He Lessened His Power

Muslim Matters

The Day He Lessened His Power

By Ilyas Hasan Choudry, MMNS

Pakistan is entering into another crucial phase. There is this news roaming all over the world that the Military Jawans of Pakistan have given the send-out salute to General Pervez Musharraf.

There have been Army Chiefs in Pakistan, who have retired before: But if they were also President of Pakistan, may be Field Marshall Ayub Khan was the first Army Chief and President of the country to leave the post of Army Chief: General Retired Musharraf is the second one, since General Yahyah Khan and General Zia-ul-Haq had to leave in tragedies.

In the recent past, if a tussle had happened between the Army Chief and Civic Society, the Army Chief used to come out, as clear winner. Like General Retired Aslam Baig creating IJI to oust Benazir Bhutto. May be once, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had altercations with General Retired Jehangir Karamat that the General decided to leave, in the larger interest of the country. But when it came to Sharif vs Musharraf, we all know where the Pakistanis have reached from then 1999 till now November 2007, with Musharraf continuing to rule.

Now Filed Marshall Ayub Khan was able to run the affairs of the country as President (without Uniform) for about seven years without any big threats from the Army: Will General Retired Pervez Musharraf get the same joy ride? Most likely not, since the war of terrorism is still on and several key decisions about this war are going to be made soon, which will haunt many.

All this remove Army Uniform thing started in December 2003, when the ruling Musharraf’s Muslim League and the six-religious-party alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) signed an agreement to resolve the constitutional crisis of Presidency. At that juncture, Musharraf told the whole nation on national and private media: “I have decided that I will shed my uniform in December 2004”.

Instead of the promised one year, it took Musharraf four years to shed his uniform and this delay means that morally, he lost much of his stature and his insistence of not leaving the position of Army means he feels susceptible without Uniform and that is what he will continue to sense from now onwards.

Two noteworthy parts of that December 2003 MMA aand Musharraf’s Muslim League Agreement, which actually gave the moral grounds that are now being used by the Judiciary in Pakistan. And that were the Legal Framework Order (LFO), where if President was to have the right to dismiss government and dissolve parliament, but then that dissolution of parliament would be subject to a review by the Supreme Court in 15 days. And most significantly, Musharraf had backed down from his earlier stance of giving three years extension to Supreme and High Court Judges, which was clearly seen as an attempt by the government to bribe the judges to back its stand.

Once MMA was able to stop that bribery, the doors became open for the Judiciary to show their Independence and this was well utilized by the bold and will-powered stance of the Chief Justice of Supreme Court and all the Judges with him.

When the history is written about the life of General Retired Pervez Musharraf, Wednesday – November 28 – 2007 will go down as the day, when the all powerful man of Pakistan despite imposing emergency rule himself a few weeks ago, left the post of Chief of Army Staff, to become some kind of a vulnerable President: Whether this was done under some sort of pressure from somewhere, fact will remain that he did this with his own hands. And the next episode is Elections 2008 resulting in the formation of a weaker government and a stalwart & vocal opposition: Meaning many more headaches, heartaches, issues and problems ahead of Pakistanis.

Let’s wait and see, if we can reach the stage, when the people of Pakistan will write on the walls just like it was written on the walls in the 1970s about the then President of Pakistan Fazal Elahi Chaudhary: “Please Release President Musharraf.”


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