Pervez Musharraf… and the plot thickens

Published: January 5, 2014

Common sense says that the Musharraf bomb should be dodged, that he should be let off the hook and transported abroad. PHOTO: AFP

The ‘Musharraf saga’ has taken a brand new turn. After failing to appear before the court once, the ex-army chief was on his way to the court again when a sudden ‘heart attack’ diverted the route of his vehicle and all security personnel around him to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), instead of the court.

Guilty or not guilty is not the question. The question is – how does making an ex-Army chief and President of Pakistan appearing before the courts benefit Pakistan?

Civil-military relationships in Pakistan have always been scratchy. There has always been a voice inside the head of every democratically elected premier telling him that military intervention – direct or indirect – is just around the corner. But after witnessing a democratically elected government complete it’s term for the first time in our history and military interventions apparently off the radar for at least the near future, why invite something that could potentially derail the wheels of democracy? Surely if we want to beat the drums of democracy, we also need to realise what moves will prolong it and what moves could spark a sudden end to it. The Musharraf episode has all the makings of an explosive situation for Pakistan and unless care is not taken, things could spiral out of control.

Musharraf’s first mistake was probably his decision to return to Pakistan. Although initially, during the military coup in 1999, he had support but his popularity eventually took a nosedive following the emergency of 2007, the removal of Iftikhar Chaudhry, and company, and a crackdown against the media’s freedom – the very freedom that he had given birth to.

His exit from the political scene, and the country itself later, was a sound decision considering his flailing popularity, and frankly, he should have stayed abroad and not made any attempts to come back. But then he formed his own political party and decided to come back to Pakistan under ridiculous disillusions of grandeur and a non-existent support base.

What ensued was to be expected – the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) (a political party that, unfortunately, has fewer members than a volleyball team) boycotting the elections after Musharraf had been disqualified.

What did Musharraf accomplish from his return to Pakistan?

Other than a very expensive security bill, nothing.

His return has triggered a situation that has not only put the country’s powerful military in an awkward situation, he has put himself in hot water. Commando or not, this is not courage.

There are those who claim that there was a backdoor agreement between the military and the government where Musharraf would eventually be sent abroad after a lot of huff-and-puff. While that sounds very likely, what they did not take into account was the possibility of the judiciary thwarting their plans. Ex-Chief Justice Ifitkhar Chaudhry may have retired, but he still calls the shots at some level. And it may be possible that he is directing the current judiciary to charge Musharraf at all costs and ensure that he is not let off.

How do things go from here?

Musharraf will most likely be let off the hook. Quite possibly there will be an intervention from the Gulf, a deal will be struck and Musharraf will go abroad, never to return again.

Of course, the judiciary may stop this from happening since it is more powerful than it has ever been before in our history. And if the judiciary stands firm, all hell will break loose. The military, despite staying aloof from politics off late, will never want a former chief of its powerful institution to face the humiliation of being charged in court.

Musharraf made errors, but care must be taken as to how he is dealt with. Pakistan is already going through tumultuous times with an ailing economy. The last thing the country needs is a former army chief being charged in court, which will derail the country’s progress in manners worse than the last time an ex- head of state was charged in Pakistan under the Zia regime.

Common sense states that the Musharraf bomb be dodged, and he be let off the hook, and transported abroad. Things progress into the future and Musharraf remains a part of history never to be spoken of again with the current fire of derailment cooled off.

But like the say however, common sense is not that common.

salman Zafar

Salman Zafar

The writer works in the Education Sector and tweets as @salmanzafar1985 (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Mohammad

    on my recent visit in Pakistan, I was buying fruits from roadside shop.. when insisting him to reduce the rate.. the shopkeeper told me “Musharraf was the best person to maintain the prices”, shopkeeper also told me it is not in his control otherwise he would make Musharraf president once again.
    People will never forget Musharraf’s tenure as economic boom and Musharraf has the ability to turn it again.
    Cases against Musharraf are nothing but to make sure Pakistan loose one of it’s finest man to keep Pakistan always suffering.Recommend

  • Meesha Akram

    Oh yes! forget the bomb blasts that started in his tenure. Forget that he used curropt politicians to support his rule… What if he is an Ex-Army Chief? None of the politicians ruined the country the way Musharraf did.. Its just the Army dictators who are responsible for creating curropt politicians and above all the Taliban….Recommend

  • Queen

    It is true that when you ask common people on the streets, they say that Musharraf’s era was the best one as their was economic boom in the country and media became independent. In country’s past history, political leaders have been targeted through one way or the other to get political advantages. I just hope that the history does not repeats itself.Recommend

  • abid Mohiuddin

    Musharraf is the best .All others are corrupt and Hippocrates. He will stay fight and return as the hero and the savior of Pakistan Insha AllahRecommend

  • Mohammad

    I will give you just on example of dictatorship of democracy: back in 90s, when NS was the PM, JANOON release the song..”Siyoni.. chain ek pal nahi, aur koi hal nahi”… in the context of bomb explosions.. NS banned the song and severely criticized the Janoon and called them and their actions un-Islamic. I don’t remember if Janoon was banned at that time.
    Another example of JANG Group, when Senator Rehman went into war with this media group due to Jang’s sever criticism on NS government.
    and Don’t forget that NS sent Judges, Chiefs and many other home during his dictatorship.
    Musharraf gave you Media…. which has opened whole of Nation’s eyes. The mess is always created by politicians and cleaned by the Army. Army is the only and ultimate institution which can keep Pakistan united.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad

    Enough is enough. Common sense says that Musharaf must be punished to discourage future adventurers.Recommend

  • Meesha Akram

    What about the number of anchors banned during Musharraf’s tenure? The list is so long that I cant even count.. Tallat Hussain, Kashif Abbassi,, Hamid Mir, and the list goes on…. Did Musharraf not ban them during emergency? and did Musharraf not throw the PTV news casters away from the news room when he imposed Martial Law? I think I dont need to mention the number of judges sent home during his rule. Do I? And do you not remember the same media personnel and cameramen fainting during coverage due to tear gas as FREE media wasnt allowed to cover?
    The only reason we have corrupt politicians in Pakistan is due to the fact that military rulers created them for their own good..
    Who was behind NRO? Who let CIA network spread in Pakistan like crazy?
    PP= Ayun Khan, PML N/ MQM/ Taliban= Zia ul Haq, PML Q/ Bomb blasts/ drones/ allowing US to take control of PAF bases (which Air Chief Marshal Mushaf Ali Mir didnt allow because of which he eventually fell victim to plane crash).
    Army dictators ruined this country…Recommend

  • Gappi

    Shab Khoon on chairman NADRA, chairman PEMRA and others, 100 billion rupees granted to Maryam Nawaz in the name of Qarza scheme should be enough for you to understand dictatorial nature of NS. Courts are holding him in place otherwise…..Recommend

  • Gappi

    Whatever you are spouting has nothing to do with common man. Go on street and ask, common man will tell you that they were much better during Musharraf rule. Talking about politicians, the greatest so called democratic leader ZAB refused to accept majority of Mujeeb UR Rehman and divided Pakistan. It is Pakistan army holding the remaining country intact otherwise….you can imagine!!Recommend

  • Mohammad

    yes, we agree but should be punished from 99, not from 2007… you won’t do from 99 and we won’t allow from 2007…Recommend

  • Mohammad

    I am not going to be in debate with you to waste my time… simple Google it and you will get who did good to Pakistan.
    Next time when you are buying fruits or vegetables from any street hawker, don’t forget to ask him about Musharraf, Nawaz Sharief and Zardari!Recommend

  • Peer

    Musharraf was the best…simple as tht….and putting Cheap justice and news anchors behind bars was the best wht he had done…..These anchors are earning millions of dollars per year through “Foreign sponsors” every one knows..but no our nation wants to close their eyes and select the same bunch of cartoons again…
    CIA network and Drones started to take pace in Zardaris time..NOT MUSHRAFF time….!!!!!!!!!!!

    GO CAMMANDO YOU ARE THE BEST…and dont worry about his nation anymore..this crowd deserves a currupt leaders like NS and ZARDARi …!!!!Recommend

  • Meesha Akram

    And next time you support Musharraf, dont forget to remember 49,000 “Pakistanis” that died in terrorist attacks since 2001.. Common men didnt suffer, they just lost their ives…
    I will go and ask common man, but will make sure that that ‘common man’ on the street wont snatch my phone or wont be wearing a suicide jacket! Gifts from Musharraf….Recommend

  • Gappi

    49000 are killed by Taliban and terrorists who want to conquer and rule Pakistan. US and Pak army are trying to eliminate them but sadly, our own Meesha, PTI, JI are their sympathizers. Musharraf did the right thing to help US drone these savages. OR do you have any other formula to get rid of this menace?
    And may I remind you that US is determined to wipe out these terrorists no matter who was ruling Pakistan, be it Musharraf, Zardari or Nawaz Sharif. Last 6 years are a proof to that.Recommend

  • hemant

    You forgot his adventure in Kargil, thanks to him, Indians are a Force, better equipped-mentally and technically,it also united India, I did not read a single comment of any relative of Pakistan Army officers, who became ‘Shaheed’ in this unnecessary war. Vikram Batra is a National hero for us, Indians.Recommend

  • Fraz Naqvi
  • kublai

    ‘…Musharraf most likely will be let off the hook…’
    Huh..?…Wha…?..You already convicted him ! Good thing
    you are not in the judicial system. In any capacity.Recommend

  • Murtaza M.Tambawala

    All answers are in this blog post please read.
    Have you forgotten all that Musharraf did for you, Pakistan? – The Express Tribune (blog) –