Musharraf
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GVS Analysis | 

Former president and military ruler Pervez Musharraf is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the government on charges of high treason and the murder of Benazir Bhutto. Recently the government rejected an application which was put forward by him demanding foolproof military security and the court’s assurance that he will be provided safe passage back to Dubai after his upcoming hearing before the special bench responsible for the high treason case.

Read More: Musharraf’s demands refused by Nawaz Govt.

This legal sideshow between the former dictator and his arch nemesis Nawaz Sharif may be dwarfed by the ongoing political turmoil in the country however, it has all the markings of a potential catastrophe for the nation.

So far he had agreed to appear in person before the special bench but the Nawaz government naturally shot down the prerequisites set by him saying that security arrangements cannot be subject to the whims of an absconder.

This legal sideshow between the former dictator and his arch nemesis Nawaz Sharif may be dwarfed by the ongoing political turmoil in the country however, it has all the markings of a potential catastrophe for the nation. To understand the repercussions of this case going out of hand a quick recap of Nawaz government’s relationship with the military is needed.

After his election in 2013 and the subsequent appointment of Gen. Raheel Sharif as the chief of army staff, Nawaz has been plagued by periodic tussles with the military. Although they all turned out to be inconsequential, the military’s influence has proved to be irksome for Nawaz, whose history with the institution warrants paranoia.

Musharraf’s motorcade which was on its way to a hearing of the high treason special bench was diverted to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology marked a new chapter in Nawaz’s relationship with the military. In the ensuing turmoil, we saw a far more subtle and experienced Nawaz from the one who had tried to redirect Musharraf’s flight to India. Gen. Raheel Sharif took the opportunity to flex his muscles but the situation was diffused successfully.

Read More: How Dawn Leaks ruined Pakistan Army’s credibility

Through a combination of delaying tactics and tragedy, Nawaz successfully navigated unscathed through Gen. Raheel Sharif’s term.

Then, during Imran Khan’s Dharna to protest alleged rigging of the 2013 elections, speculation was rife about how Nawaz was being pressured by Gen. Raheel Sharif to negotiate with Imran. During this time, the army was subject to the controversy surrounding the shooting of popular TV host Hamid Mir who was employed by a Nawaz friendly media conglomerate which had started airing harsh criticism directed towards then ISI chief Zaheer-ul-Islam following the shooting. This brought tensions between the government and the military to a pitch however the conflict was resolved after the television channel had printed and aired a formal apology to the army.

Through a combination of delaying tactics and tragedy, Nawaz successfully navigated unscathed through Gen. Raheel Sharif’s term.

Enter the new COAS Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. Unluckily, the new chief inherited the toxic Dawn leaks situation which ended up blowing in his face. His initial miscalculation in the form of the now infamous ‘rejected tweet’ came back to bite him after he was forced to withdraw it.

Now, given the fact that the recent history of this government and its relationship with the military stands as proof of Nawaz’s ability to control and skew any civil-military conflict in his favor, it would be the height of foolishness for Musharraf to dive into this cauldron and create more headaches for his beloved institution.

Pundits regularly point out how Nawaz has proven that he now knows how to leverage any squabbles with the military to support his own cause.

Before, it had been said that Gen. Raheel had advised Musharraf not to come to Pakistan to face trial as it would be highly politicized against him. He would have been effectively facing two powerful entities (Nawaz Sharif and the judiciary) which were highly motivated to extract revenge against him. But despite these facts, he came and the ensuing events luckily came out in his favor.

Read More: Government sticking to its guns: Dawn leaks matter resolved

At the present, however, the situation is not the same. The army cannot afford to perform the stunts it had previously done to aid him. Pundits regularly point out how Nawaz has proven that he now knows how to leverage any squabbles with the military to support his own cause. His time-tested tactic of acting the heroic victim of the big bad army provides him with a source of international sympathy and, consequently, further damages the army’s standing and prestige as an institution.

The army is currently engaged in a delicate balancing act to manage its responsibilities and preserve its image. With its inclusion in the Panama JIT plus the recent Dawn leaks debacle it can, by no means, afford another confrontation with the government over Musharraf.

Question for discussion: Should Musharraf come back to face trial?

2 COMMENTS

  1. Well, when he last came back the military was facing problems as well, but his case was the one which provided unity in a divided establishment and led to re-establishing them as the main player in Pakistan’s power structure. Both courts and Government backed out and military was back in the driving seat. If Musharraf returns and remains untouchable this may give the current military leadership the boast it needs especially with in the institution!

  2. Its Simply a “Punjabi Gardi” If Mushraf was Punjabi Everyone woulf like to Welcome him! NO ONE SAY ANYTHING ABOUT GEN ZIA UL HAQ because He was Punjabi and NawazSharif(Punjabi) Born from his Lap ,whic is another Punjabi Factor.Nos NawazSharif Trying to be “Democrat ” Believe me This Paindoo Punjabi NawazSharif till now didn’t know the meaning of “DemoCracy”……NoOne bothers him including Punjabi Establishment, Punjabi Judiciary, Punjabi FIA,Punjabi NAB,Punjabi Police, Punjabi FBR & Finally Punjabi Army.
    I m not Against Ordinary Punjabi People, they are Very Nice and Patriotic BUT Most of the Punjabi Politicians are Corrupt, Crook, Dishonest and can Do anything for Money,that’s Why i called them FullTime Bagairat with NO Credibility.

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