Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Supreme Court versus Pervez Musharraf

A situation many had feared, some had hoped for but no one is indifferent to has come to pass. The Supreme Court will rule on the legality of Pervez Musharraf's imposition of the Emergency on November 3, 2007. There is absolutely no doubt that Musharraf violated the Constitution on that day (and many other days besides). Opponents of Musharraf and military rule in general would argue that a Supreme Court verdict against Musharraf would be a positive step for Pakistan, that the country would finally be holding past rulers responsible for their sins and upholding the Constitution. I'm agnostic on that point. For now, I'm more interested in how political forces may be realigned in the short- to medium-term future in light of the Supreme Court's decison to hear the case and its likely verdict declaring Musharraf's actions unconstitutional.

The President and the Prime Minister

It's pretty well established that PM Gillani does not want to kowtow to Zardari. There are also rumours of a rift between Gillani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik, a key Zardari ally. If the Supreme Court declares Musharraf's November 3 PCO illegal, his subsequent actions, most prominent of which is the NRO, would cease to be the law of the land. This, to put it mildly, would not please Zardari. It is not outlandish to expect that Gillani will come down on the Supreme Court's side, although he would be smart to find a way to hedge his bets.

Gillani is said to have played a key role in the return of Iftikhar Chaudhry and the other PCO judges, so one should not dismiss his importance in the upcoming saga. But, when weak prime ministers have tried to challenge their powerful overlords, the results have not been pretty. Mohammed Junejo never revolted against General Zia but even his mild rebellions sealed his fate. And if the PPP MNAs are forced to choose between Zardari and Gillani, I would expect them to support the President, even if their sympathies lie with the PM. If this comes to pass, the PML-N will certainly welcome Gillani.

For Zardari, the situation is even more complicated. When the judges were restored many of us suspected a back-room deal had been hashed out whereby the NRO would not be questioned. Zardari should have realized that Iftikhar Chaudhry would always be a wild card in any such deal. Once he was restored, there was very little incentive for Chaudhry to abide by any such deal. It will be politically impossible for Zardari to pack up the court, giving Chaudhry free reign to pass judgement on whatever he pleases. The situation is terrible for Zardari and he may have only one lifeline. Which brings us to...

The Army

Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Pervez Kayani's role in the return of the judges is said to have to been key. He, in his capacity as head of the ISI, was also part of the deal that brought Benazir back to Pakistan. Very little is known about Kayani's political implications but he seems to value stability above all else. Stability, in this case, would mean the continuation of the status quo. It is too soon for the army to intervene directly but they will be maneovering behind the scenes. They are also Zardari's best bet for this headache to disappear.

There have also been conflicting roles about the army's view of Musharraf. This is a no-brainer for me. Even if the army disapproves of Musharraf's action and would like to see him punished, his trial would set a precedent that the army can be held accountable for its actions. I don't see that hapenning. As a compromise, I can see the army allowing the Supreme Court to declare the PCO unconstitutional but refusing to concede to a trial for Musharraf. This is where Zardari can play his role by pardoning Musharraf, and leaving the Supreme Court without a constitutional basis on which to put Musharraf on trial.


Nawaz Sharif must be delighted right now. He wanted the judges restored. They were restored. He wanted his disqualification from electoral office removed. It was removed. He wanted Musharraf to be put on trial. The Supreme Court is trying to do that too. I see this as a win-win situation for him. If Musharraf is tried, he can claim the credit. If a deal is hashed out, Nawaz Sharif can play the martyr and say he was folied by the 'establishement'. Imagine that. Nawaz Sharif positioning himself as the anti-establishment candidate. Either way, he will remain the most popular political figure in the country.

The Supreme Court

No matter what happens with Musharraf, the Supreme Court has shown that they will be a thorn in Zardari's side. Since I don't believe Musharraf will be tried, the SC will continually prick Zardari on issues like the carbon tax rather than bleeding him to death with one huge judgement. For the first time in Pakistan's history, the judiciary is a key political players. I have often voiced disagreement with their tactics but I'm also glad that an antagonistic judiciary will be around to keep Zardari's dictatorial tendencies in check.

Pervez Musharraf

Musharraf is currently in London. He should stay there. If he has an itch to travel, there is plenty of family in the US to welcome him. If the winter's get too harsh, I've heard Australia is lovely at that time of the year.


Tan said...

What do you make of the efforts of Lord Nazir to get war crimes charges brought against Musharraf?

Musharraf may face trial for war crimes in London

Asfandyar said...

Lord Ahmed is a grandstanding prick. Nothing I've ever read about him seems to make him come across as otherwise.

The one thing I don't get is what the hell has happened to Nawaz Sharif? Maybe he's maneuvering constantly behind the scenes, but he's surely not been in the public enough. It's brilliant really - he seems to have taken a back seat and just plans to watch Zardari and co. unfold while he slowly but surely gains more and more in the public vote stakes.

Nizar said...

This is all BullShit, I think we should shame ourself that we are promoting Presecution on such a great leader. Pakistan always prosperious under military government. All your politician have abused pakistan for their own cause. You people run such type of blog just to earn money and execute propaganda without nowing nothing. Shame on you.

Nizar said...

Musharaf was the great leader. He change the mindset with his great leadership and braveness. You people are actually the enemies of Pakistan and agent of Anti Pro Pakistanis. He make good changes in Country. Like

Stronger the Banking System In Pakistan.

Attracted Billions of Dollar of Investment in Pakistan.

Free the media that is now fucking the present government and corrupted politicians.

Took great initiative to eliminate radical eliminating Terrorism.

Private the main industries who totally corrupted in Nawaz Sharif government.

Work on the Infrastructure of the Pakistan.

Worked on Dams,

He change the mindset of Pakistani people.

If he would not be president during 9/11. I think that in Pakistani American Army would be on our streets.

At the time of Nawaz Sharif Government, Pakistan was fail state declared by IMF and other big countries. He gradually took out from fail state to stable state in fews years.

And many more things that our politician have never did for our country.

He gave the country in very good state to our new elected government but they fail to proceed this country with success.

Just tell me how much money you get from anti pakistani people to run such ridiclous blogs ?????????????


Kalsoom said...

Great post Bubs.

Ahsan said...


Millions. Millions and millions of dollars.

Anonymous said...

ahsan, what sort of nutjobs are u guys attracting on your blog recently!

Tazeen said...


Excellent analysis.


I am penury stricken and jobless, please introduce me to those who are willing to pay millions and millions and millions of dollars. I will be forever grateful

karachi khatmal said...


your blog has now reached puberty, the awkward phase where despite your winning personality, you are continued to be plagued by monstrous zits that refuse to go away. what's worse is that those pimples are now questioning where your patriotic allegiances lie.

i wonder if nizar reads the other blogs out there, because if 5 rupees is anti-musharraf then what would he make of the other blogs out there...

FZ said...

Strategically this can only be good for Nawaz Sharif - that guy has some serious luck. He was down and out and then Zardari with the juiciary crisis made him a hero. And now this - it can only improve the situation for him.

Incidentally, I have on good authority that Musharaf has just settled in to a flat here in London on Edgware Rd - and this was prior to this news...I'm assuming he left because he knew this was coming, so the question is was it leaked on purpose or accidentally? and by whom?

Ahsan said...


Just send an email to and the people there will hook you up.


Come on man, you know as well as I do that we've been attracting nutters on this blog for a long time. Remember hahaha?


If it's true, then it's a good question. You have any ideas?

bubs said...

FZ: I think Musharraf was generally worried that the Supreme Court was going to go after him rather than having any specific knowledge. Incidentally, Rehman Malik has a house on Edgware Road. This should provide further grist to those who believe Rehman Malik is a Musharraf plant.

Re the nutter: In the year or so I have been blogging here, there have been plenty of nutters. But this may be the first time I have been accused of excessively criticising Musharraf. I quite like the title "Agent of Anti Pro Pakistanis." I'm also wondering which post Nizar is commenting on since I made sure not to present my own views on Musharraf's rule.

FZ said...

Unfortunately I have no theories, I just find it interesting that he was in the country most of the time since leaving office and he happens to be outside when this came up - but you are right - maybe he could sense this was coming and there was no deliberate leak.

Obviously this is could be a huge can of worms...