Musharraf Trial? Will it ever happen in Pakistan?

The return of former president Pervez Musharraf in March 2012 created some excitement in political circles of Pakistan.He was nominated in thee high profile cases, the murders of Benazir Bhutto and Akbar Bugtti and the Lal Masjid Debacle.

All these three cases would result in capital punishment for the former president. Yet the judiciary and political establishment of Pakistan appear unwilling to try the dictator in these three crimes. Sure, there have been trials and Pervez Musharraf did grace the courts with his trademarked arrogance, but the end result has surprised the people of Pakistan. So let’s dig a bit into the facts about Musharraf Trial.

The common sentiment on the street is that Pervez Musharraf will never be sentenced to death in any of the cases because of his association with the armed forces of Pakistan. This is why no institution in Pakistan could harm him.

Like many other pieces of folk sayings, this too carries a lot of truth in it. There is only one institution that could award death penalty to Pervez Musharraf and that is the Supreme Court of Pakistan. However, as the cases pass through the lower courts, the waters will become so muddied up that it would be impossible to place the blame on Pervez Musharraf.

His legal team has started using this Defense of Dilution of Blame already. In the recent Lal Masjid case, he refused to accept any responsibility for the Operation Silence. According to his statement, the government and civilian setup of the time was the prime culprit of the Operation Silence. According to his statement, he was the president of the country with only ceremonial powers. The actual responsibility rests with the executive branch and the ruling clique.

Pervez Musharraf has time to time made veiled threats that he would not go down alone. A number of political and military collaborators of Pervez Musharrafare still in relevantly powerful positions with access to an impressive Old Boys network. Everyone has their load of dirty linen and each is afraid that Pervez Musharraf would let the cat out of the bag.

This is why Pervez Musharraf will never be tried under the current setup of political, military and judicial establishment. He will be relegated to a quiet corner to live out his life with his dogs and cigars.


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