Altaf Hussain, the British chief of Pakistani political party MQM recently raised 9 questions on treason trial of Musharraf for his actions of 3rd November 2007. Altaf Hussain raised 9 questions why General Musharraf was not being tried on his 12th October 1999 coup and why he was only tried for his last abrogation of constitution.
Following lack of seriousness from public and media about these questions, Altaf Hussain played his typical race card and declared that General Musharraf was being targeted only because he was Muhajir similar to Altaf Hussain.
Although statements of Altaf Hussain should not be taken seriously, but we are providing our response to these questions for correction of record:
1. The Army imposes martial law like on 12th October 1999 and dismisses a democratically elected government. The time when generals of the Pakistan Army and other officers started action to dismiss the democratically-elected government, Gen Musharraf was onboard a plane and returning to country from a foreign visit.
The martial law was formally declared when “General Musharraf” addressed the nation on PTV on early morning of 13th October 1999. Army doesn’t just impose martial law unless Army Chief is fully involved in the crime.
2. A meeting of the generals was held after Gen Musharraf landed in which it was decided to hold the Constitution in abeyance. A Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) was promulgated and the judges of the Supreme Court were asked to take a fresh oath under the PCO. The then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, Justice Mamoon Qazi, Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, Justice Khalilur Rehman, Justice Wajeehuddin Ahmed and Justice Kamal Mansoor Alam refused to take oath under the PCO.
Wrong. The constitution was only violated, not held in abeyance in October 1999. The constitution was actually abrogated and PCO was issued much later in 2000 before verdict on Zafar Ali Shah case and all judges including CJ Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui kept working until that time.
3. The judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts that took oath, under the PCO included Justice Irshad Hassan Khan, Justice Iftakhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Bashir Jahangiri, Justice Shaikh Riaz Ahmed, Justice Abdur Rehman and Justice Chaudhry Muhammad Arif.
Yes, and MQM validated actions of all the above respected judges in form of 17th amendment. Not only that, but actions all of these judges were again revalidated in 18th amendment unanimously by all elected parties including MQM in previous Zardari led government. If MQM had decided not to validate the actions of CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry, the previous judiciary of Saeeduzzamman could be restored and new judiciary led by Chaudhry Iftikhar could also be charged for treason.
4. When the then prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif dismissed the Chief of Army Staff Gen Musharraf on 12th Oct 1999 by exercising his discretionary powers and issued a written notification, promoted and decorated the head of ISI Lt-Gen Ziauddin to the office of the Chief of Army Staff, the generals of the GHQ and the corps commanders refused to follow the orders. On 12 October 1999, Gen Musharraf and other generals deposed the government in clear violation of the constitution, suspended the constitution of Pakistan, arrested the prime minister, they arrested Gen Ziauddin But as well.
Yes, and MQM validated all these actions of Army in form of 17th amendment.
5. Will the constitutional and legal experts and political and defence analysts like to answer under which article of the Constitution did the judges of the Supreme Court, who took oath under the PCO of Gen Musharraf, validated and legitimised the army action of 12th Oct 1999? Under which constitution was the military government of Gen Musharraf allowed to continue to work for three years? Under which constitution was the military government allowed to amend the Constitution?
The Supreme Court can’t validate any unconstitutional action, rather it gave a conditional and temporary decision so that elections could take place and new parliament could decide if the actions of Army were legal or illegal. It was ultimately MQM that validated army’s actions of 1999, not Supreme Court.
While giving temporary relief to Musharraf, the Supreme Court judges also put their necks at stake, but thankfully MQM validated actions of judges.
6. Why is it that some politicians and legal and constitutional experts were declaring the imposition of emergency of Nov 3, 2007 as unconstitutional and not the deposition of the elected government and holding of the Constitution in abeyance on the 12th Oct 1999? How can they validate and legitimise the military action of the 12th Oct 1999?
It is MQM that has to answer how it validated and legitimized the military action of 12th October 1999 in 17th amendment. Thankfully, for first time in history of this country, the action of 3rd November 2007 by Army Chief was thrown out of the parliament and not validated.
7. Gen Ayub Khan, Gen Yahya Khan and Gen Ziaul Hque had also imposed martial law in the country in utter violation of the constitutions but not a single general was held in captivity even for a second let alone a full hour.
When Gen Ziaul Haque had imposed the martial law, he had not only dismissed elected governments and assemblies but also arrested and hanged the elected prime minister. As against this, Gen Musharraf not only pardoned prime minister Mian Nawaz Shrif, although he was convicted by a court, but also allowed Mian Nawaz Sharif and his entire family to proceed to Saudi Arabia with his servants, attendants, and suitcases.
General Musharraf wanted to hang PM Nawaz Sharif, but court only gave life sentence on fake hijacking case to Sharif. Musharraf’s government actually appealed against life sentence and pushed for death sentence.
The pardon was not given by General Musharraf, rather it was President Rafiq Tarrar who officially pardoned Nawaz Sharif and all his family, despite the family not being charged in any case.
The hijacking case was reopened in 2009 after restoration of judiciary and Nawaz Sharif was found not to be involved in hijacking and he was acquitted in that case.
Altaf asked the constitutional and legal experts and defence and political experts to reply to each point raised by him with sound arguments in detail and explain as to why only Gen Musharraf has been arrested and being held responsible for the imposition of emergency. Why is it that the generals that aided and collaborated with Gen Musharraf and those who validated the military action allowed to remain free instead of facing cases in the court? Altaf said that he would be grateful if the constitutional and legal experts would respond to the points raised by him in the light of the Constitution and law in a logical manner.
Wrong, Musharraf has not been arrested as of yet for imposition of emergency.
All current documentary evidences show that it was Musharraf who imposed the emergency (actually martial law) and Musharraf’s speech on 3rd November 1999 also reflects the same. The trial should start with General Musharraf and he should give documentary evidence if others were involved and they should be called too, including MQM’s governor Ishrat-ul-Ibad who administered PCO oath from judges.
Finally, if 100 people suggest a person to kill someone, then killer would still be responsible for his action and must be published for murder as per law. He can’t distribute the guilt of this actions on 100 persons suggesting him.