President of Pakistan: With Many Withouts

Posted on December 4, 2007
Filed Under >Saleem S. Rizvi, Law & Justice
Total Views: 56465

Saleem S. Rizvi

Pictures sometimes speak volumes. The picture of Pervez Musharraf’s oath ceremony, shown all over the world, is certainly one of them. It speaks volumes, loud and clear, about a bitter and remorseless retired general who still wants to be at the helm of power by all means possible.

After shedding his military uniform that he notoriously claimed to be his skin, Pervaz Musarraf took the oath of office as the thirteenth president of Pakistan, pledging to “preserve and defend” the Constitution. But which constitution is he referring to? If his oath is to “preserve and defend” the Constitution of Pakistan that he himself has suspended, then doesn’t such pledge bring this hypocrisy into the open? What else should one call it? Why should we trust him this time around when it is he who has suspended the Constitution with a single stroke of the pen, and now is pretending to be its defender?

The picture further reveals another disturbing paradox: Here is a President without a parliament. Doesn’t his “election” by the expiring parliament raise a plethora of legal and constitutional questions about its legitimacy? By violating the letter and spirit of the Constitution, and by savagely sacking the higher judiciary, he got himself elected by an outgoing parliament, which has no power to elect a new president. Just think of the horrible outcome of such shameful act. By doing so, he has deprived the future parliament of its right to elect its own president.

Another person appearing in the picture, a few inches shorter in height and a lot in legitimacy is Musharraf’s hand- picked Chief Justice of the apex court. This so- called chief justice of the Supreme Court, who administered Musharraf’s oath, did not himself take the oath of office under the Constitution of Pakistan; rather he took oath under the PCO. Isn’t his elevation to this position the product of Musharraf’s flagrantly illegal and unconstitutional dismissal of the higher judiciary? The whole world knows that the pre- November 3 judiciary, comprised of independent- minded judges was about to render its judgment against Musharraf before he imposed Martial Law. The defiant judges of the apex court, who refused to take oath under the PCO, issued a 58 page joint judgment a couple of weeks ago , The judgment was sent to the Supreme Court but, for obvious reasons, it was not released by the authorities to the public.

In the judgment, the judges declare,

“… we earnestly feel that there appears to be enough substance and force in the submission of the petitioners that General Musharraf could not contest election from the current assemblies as outgoing assemblies can not be allowed to bind the successor assemblies to be elected as a result of popular mandate. Furthermore, members of present Electoral College, who have already expressed their opinion by expressing a vote of confidence immediately after their assumption of office, may not be in a position to exercise their right of franchise freely and independently. They would naturally be influenced and swayed by their earlier decision…….It may be further observed that the president being an integral part of the parliament, it would be quite inconceivable and unusual that the parliament with whom a president has to work in total cordiality and harmony should not be elected by such parliament.”

There is an overwhelming consensus among domestic and international political observer that the principal reason for Musharraf to impose Martial Law was to silence the higher judiciary. It was for the first time in the history of Pakistan that the judiciary began to exhibit considerable degree of maturity, independence, and assertiveness, which was seen by Musarraf as a grave threat to his personal ambitions. Therefore, in the name of public interest, he imposed Martial law and deposed the judiciary.

After sacking independent judges and replacing them with submissive and docile ones, Musharraf feels relieved. Now, he has a new Supreme Court, willing to bend backward to please him. Therefore, in his inaugural speech, he declares, “Now as the democracy has come back on track in the country, I have taken oath as a civilian President and the law and order situation has been improved, therefore, there is no need for emergency any more.” He further claims, “There was no democracy at all in the country in the past and it will be for the first time in the history of Pakistan that democracy in full be introduced.”

By making such declarations, isn’t the retired general proving himself delusional? Can any one in his right mind make such outlandish claims, when the Constitution is held in abeyance, the state structure is being destroyed, the civil rights are suspended, the media is gagged, the judges and eminent lawyers are in house arrests, the political activist are on the run, and the police and intelligence agencies are fully deployed to commit barbaric acts against the civil society?

In the same speech, one can find several hints as to what Musharraf has in mind as his next game plan. Musharraf says, “I am sure that Pakistan will go stronger with me as a civilian president and with general Kayani as army chief.” Watch out! Now, the only and the lonely Messiah thinks he is not alone any longer in his “quest” to save Pakistan. Is he being delusional once again?

As Musharraf shows no regrets and remorse for what he has done to the decent people of his country and shows more wrong-headedness and stringency, we can easily imagine what he is really up to. His past and present acts are a horrifying tale of recklessness, selfishness, and ruthless savagery. In addition, he is highly unpredictable: his 180 degree turns and flip-flopping is legendary.

In the same speech, the retired general displays his irritability towards international community, which is demanding for restoration of democracy and upholding of civil rights in Pakistan with one voice. He tends to believe that such international protest against the abuses being committed by him are some kind of intervention in the internal affairs of Pakistan. After all, he has been the sole arbiter responsible for Pakistan and its people for the last eight years, and in such messianic capacity, he thinks and believes that only he knows what is best for Pakistan.

He also believes that universally held democratic norms and human rights cannot be given to the people of Pakistan, as they are net ready yet. One wonders if he thinks of Pakistan society as subhuman, still living in the dark ages. He wants to decide when and if the people of Pakistan ever become “eligible” for such rights. In his own words, “One can not sacrifice stability and development of the nation for your views on democracy, civil liberties and human rights.” Every word of this statement reveals his contempt for democracy and the rule of law as he tends to believe that democracy, civil liberties and human rights pose danger to national stability and development.

Now he tells us that he will soon lift his Martial law. We know he has no other choice. We also know that he is not doing it because he realized it was wrong. Rather his reasons are opportunistic. Through his Martial law, he already got what he wanted: The annihilation of the higher judiciary. In his heartless pursuit of power, Musharraf has conveniently forgotten that he has committed something very serious. We do not know what his legal advisors have been advising him, but if he really wants to know what he has done, he should be reading the following article of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Article 6 of the Constitution of Pakistan states that,

“Any person who abrogates or attempts or conspires to abrogate, subvert or attempts to conspire to subvert the constitution by use of the force or show of force or by other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.”

About the Author: Saleem S. Rizvi is a New York based senior attorney.

101 responses to “President of Pakistan: With Many Withouts”

  1. Imran zaka says:

    We wants to make Pakistan free from terrorism and extremission.We must have to make Pakistan modern.In this way we can succeed in the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *