Musharaf’s return


It is quite unusual to see a former military dictator in Pakistan facing charges of violating constitution. Pakistan government, on June 9, cancelled Gen Musharraf’s computerized national identity card (CNIC) on orders of the court where he is tried for ‘treason’. Musharaf is presently living in Dubai. Though Musharaf got some relief that the Supreme Court of Pakistan stayed the lower court’s decision, however, his worries are far from over. The Supreme Court ordered to form a special tribunal within two days for the former General’s trial. The story of Pervez Musharraf's rise and fall has been a long and rather sad one. A skilful and decent professional soldier, he took power in 1999 amid chaos caused by corrupt and incompetent politicians came to like the stuff and clung on to it far too long. In November 2007, Musharraf imposed Emergency in Pakistan to extend his hold on power which led to the confinement of a number of superior court judges in their houses and sacking of over 100 judges. Serving as Pakistan’s president from 1999 to 2008, Musharraf was one of the country’s longest-serving rulers. In 2008, he went into self-imposed exile and returned to Pakistan in March 2013. Musharraf had hoped to lead his party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, into elections, but he was disqualified from participating in elections. Since then, the former president has been battling a host of allegations against him. On March 18, 2016, the former president travelled to Dubai for medical treatment. He has not returned since. A conviction for high treason carries the death penalty or life imprisonment. He is also accused in the Benazir Bhutto murder case, killing of dissident tribal leader, Akbar Bugti and operation Lal Masjid. But that is just one side of the coin. The flipside is that his military regime was better than any democratic government Pakistan ever had, more particularly the PPP dispensation that completed its term last month.
The economy, in general, was doing great; there were more jobs and businesses were recording higher profits. When Musharraf took over Pakistan was at the verge of economic collapse. Its overall foreign reserves were less than two billion dollars which could have brought the country on the brink within two weeks. But Musharraf’s era gave a new flip to the economic growth of Pakistan and when he left power in 2008, the foreign reserves of Pakistan had gone up to 17 billion dollars. According to reports by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Pakistan was the third fastest growing economy after China and India during that era. In 2002, the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) was declared the “Best Performing Stock Market of the World for the year 2002. This is despite the fact that the port city had never been a peaceful one for economic activities. Even Pakistan railways, which had all along been running on huge losses, was making profits. Other indicators include a drastic decrease in poverty. CNG fuel, information technology and especially the telecommunication sectors registered massive growths, and the dollar was just at Rs60 during Musharaf’s rule. Four dams (Subakzai, Gomalzam, Khurram and Tangi) were constructed during his period. Pervez Musharraf can also be hailed as the liberator of the media; being a dictator, he was the only one who seemed confident enough of himself and his countrymen to have given Pakistani’s the freedom of speech as well. He took major steps to empower the Pakistani women in local and national assemblies and his aggressive education policy contributed to major positive riffles in Pakistan’s education system. But it is quite sad to note that Musharraf is presently remembered only for bad things that he did during his rule, and everybody is after his head. It should be known by the fact that not a single journalist, politician, columnist or any person with some salt is talking in favour of Musharraf. Voices rather are raised to try him for treachery and treason. His lack of support or any kind of political base is just one of his challenges. Political maturity demands that the former ruler be treated in more responsible and respected manner. His good things, which he did during his rule, should not be left out of reckoning while dealing with him.