Ever since Gen. Pervez Musharraf returned to Pakistan, he has been caught in a miasma of misinformation that has been created by the media to further certain negative perceptions about him. The courts are doing their bit to queer the pitch. While there has been a huge outcry to invoke Article 6 against Gen. Musharraf for allegedly committing high treason, deep in the echelons of power, it is well understood that this would open the mythical Pandora’s Box and would entail rolling of a good many important heads.
Perhaps Musharraf was not ready for the disillusionment that he now faces. The very media he had freed has turned against him, vociferously applauding the treatment the judiciary is meting out to him in its crass vindictiveness. There is a well-organized anti-Musharraf campaign that is on these days through news stories, panel discussions and TV tickers.
Of late, the legal term ‘suo moto’ (meaning on its own motion) has almost become a household word in Pakistan, thanks to the frequent actions taken under the suo moto provision of the law by the superior judiciary. However, this same judiciary has not bothered to take suo moto action against the late Akbar Bugti’s son for announcing head money of Rs.1 billion and land for anyone who kills Pervez Musharraf. As far as the judiciary is concerned, it appears as if anyone who has a personal grouse against another person (in this instance Bugti’s son believes Musharraf was instrumental in having his father killed) can take the law in his own hands and become his own judge, jury and executioner.
It is obvious that the retired army general has taken the democratic route a bit too late in the day. He has also not focused much on organizing his political party into a well-oiled political machine. He would have done well to set up the APML on practical lines even from afar by appointing a central executive committee back home which would have managed organizational affairs. He could have taken in seasoned politicians on the central executive who would have handled affairs of the party in his absence and, once he arrived in Pakistan, he would have a working setup to further build on.
An important question being asked is about Musharraf’s democratic bonafides. He had once said that democracy was simply a label and if that was what was needed, he was willing to hold elections. Does he still think the same way or has he suddenly turned into a true blue democrat who has done away with his military mindset and has all the intentions to enter the political mainstream via the democratic route? Furthermore, if Musharraf has now turned into a democrat, then how does he defend his earlier actions, such as coming down with a heavy hand on the judiciary, imposing Emergency in the country when there was no need for such an extreme measure or signing the National Reconciliation Order (NRO)?
Whatever the case, the good that Musharraf did for Pakistan must be taken due cognizance of and acknowledged by those who were the greatest beneficiaries of his actions and no less the media. The general has certainly committed many mistakes in his time but his positives and good deeds are far greater and need to be rightly remembered.