Within the last 24 hours, Pakistan judiciary has issued two verdicts against nation's strong army. (Pakistan has sixth largest army in the world after China, India, U.S. Russia and North Korea.)
On Tuesday (Dec 17) a special court hearing the high treason case against former president General Pervez Musharraf handed the retired General a death sentence for overthrowing the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who had been sentenced in 2018 to ten years in prison for graft.
The former president Musharraf, 76, has been in a self-imposed exile since 2016 and at present is seeking treatment in a Dubai hospital.
On Monday (Dec 16), the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued the detailed verdict regarding the extension in tenure of Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Last month, the apex court had suspended the notification of Imran Khan's government confirming the extension of General Bajwa for another three years after his term expires on November 29.
Interestingly, the Supreme Court verdict was written by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, however, Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, added a note by borrowing Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke of England who said in the year 1616: "Howsoever high you may be; the law is above you."
When first take of this article was published on November 29, 2019 at OpEd News, a reader, Mr. Khalid Saeed commented on OpEd:
"Apparently, Chief Justice Khosa's objective was to cut down the COAS and the Army to size. But it remains to be seen that how the powerful Army reacts to the drama staged by the soon outgoing Justice Khosa. It may not prove good omen for the Judiciary, army as well as the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan who has inherited the most corrupt political system of the country which faces existential threat by extreme right-wing party ruled India. It may be recalled that in the past four army chiefs have given themselves extensions while two others were so favored by the government of the time but the judiciary did not challenge. However, now it is questioning the nitty-gritty of the extension in the term of office of General Bajwa. Why? This raises many questions."
It will not be too much to say that Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa retires after three days on December 20, 2019 but days before his retirement Justice Khosa is leaving a legacy of confrontation between Judiciary on the one hand and Army and the government on the other hand.
Pakistan Army in 'pain and anguish'
Not surprisingly, Pakistan Army said Tuesday that it was in a lot of pain and anguish after the special court announced its verdict in the high treason case against former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, sentencing him to death.
Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor issued an official statement saying: "An ex-Army Chief, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and President of Pakistan, who has served the country for over 40 years, fought wars for the defense of the country can surely never be a traitor."
The statement further said that the due legal process in the case has been ignored 'including constitution of special court, denial of fundamental right of self defense, undertaking individual specific proceedings and concluding the case in haste'.
Amnesty International South Asia Deputy Director, Omar Waraich said: "It is crucial he (General Musharraf) receives a fair trial without recourse to the death penalty. The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment; it metes out vengeance, not justice."
The Musharraf high treason verdict is creating distances and pushing Pakistan towards conflict, according to Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid. "The decision is creating distance and putting us on a path that will lead to conflict. Those who looted Pakistan are getting bail while those who served the country are being convicted," he said. He was alluding to Nawaz Sharif who despite jail sentence was granted bail for medical treatment abroad and former President Asif Ali Zardari who was in custody on corruption charges. He was also given bail recently on medical ground.
Attorney-general says Musharraf treason case 'void'
Attorney-General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan on Tuesday said the high treason case against former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf had been "void from the beginning" and questioned "what the rush was" in pronouncing the judgment the death penalty which was given in absentia.