The Special Court’s verdict in former President General Musharraf’s treason case sparked off humongous reactions on social media yesterday. The apex court sentenced Pervez Musharraf to death in absentia for abrogating the constitution and imposing emergency rule in 2007.
General Musharraf suspended the constitution of Pakistan in 2007. He came to power in 1999 after a military coup and remained the president of Pakistan from 2001 to 2008. Supreme Court deemed his actions equivalent to high treason and charged him with the death sentence under Article 6. This is, however, the first instance of a military ruler convicted with high treason in Pakistan- a country laden with a history of military rule.
This statement by @OfficialDGISPR articulates the thinking of #PakistanArmedForces & emotions of countless #Pakistanis.
The so-called treason case against #PervezMusharraf is mala fied.
The institution stands behind its former chief, who is being politically victimised. pic.twitter.com/WdztJysC5T
— Amir Zia (@AmirZia1) December 18, 2019
A very famous Irish Soldier, Thomas Francis Meagher said…
"The treason of which I stand convicted loses all its guilt, has been sanctified as a duty, and will be ennobled as a sacrifice."#Musharraf #MusharrafVerdict
— Mehwish Hayat TI (@MehwishHayat) December 17, 2019
A sad day indeed .. when a patriot is called a traitor. #PervezMusharraf you sir will always be our patriot . A true Pakistani a brave soldier and son of the soil. #pakarmyZindabad .
— Shaan Shahid (@mshaanshahid) December 17, 2019
Social media, inflated with angst against the death penalty unleashed a blistering criticism on the country’s apex court. A mammoth of Twitter users decried the declared ‘unfair and unjust’. Prominent celebrities and politicians even from the ruling party disapproved of the decision.
Read more: Mehwish Hayat calls for fair trial for General Musharraf
Social media argued that an army official, who served the country for 40 years and fought wars, cannot be equated to a traitor. Colossal messages outpoured, expressing solidarity with and calling Pervez Musharraf a ‘hero’. Others affirmed that Pervez Musharraf committed mistakes but that does not amount to be called a ‘traitor’.
The list of Musharaf's mistakes could be as long as my arm but it doesn't include treason.
— Azam Jamil اعظم (@AzamJamil53) December 17, 2019
Question: Can a sitting COAS be tired for committing high treason? Who decides the move was for national security or to commit treason?Dont forget, decided without hearing the ex COAS#Musharraf
— Barrister Ambreen Qureshi 🇵🇰 (@ambreenqureshi) December 17, 2019
Humanitarian grounds were used to allow sick nawaz sharif fly out of the country, on the other hand sick pervez Musharraf gets zero humanitarian consideration by the judges,no right to fair trial
— Barrister Ambreen Qureshi 🇵🇰 (@ambreenqureshi) December 17, 2019
یہ وہی مشرف ہے جس سے آپ نے این آر او لیا تھا –
یہ وہی مشرف ہے جس کو آپ نے گارڈ آف آنر دیا
یہ وہی مشرف ہے جس سے آپ کے وزیراعظم اور چارٹر آف کرپشن کابینہ نے حلف اٹھایا تھا –
کیا کرپشن کرنا منی لانڈرنگ کرنا غریب عوام کولوٹنا آئین کے عین مطابق ہے؟ pic.twitter.com/446dFym1sO
— Faisal Javed Khan (@FaisalJavedKhan) December 17, 2019
In an outburst of reactions, Twitter users called plundering and looting public money an act of ‘treason’. Pakistanis recalled the past mistakes of various politicians and called out judiciary for their decision against Pervez Musharraf while emancipating the arrested politicians on charges of multi-million rupee corruption on health grounds. The bail of Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Maryam Nawaz, and Khursheed Shah irked people.
Since the decision against General Musharraf came a day after detailed judgment released by SC on Gen Bajwa’s extension as COAS, several people said it bolsters the perception of vengeance of the judiciary against the army.
Read more: General Pervez Musharraf handed death sentence for high treason
These sentiments were assembled into Twitter trends of, ‘Khosa Targeting Army‘, ‘Musharraf‘, ‘DGISPR’, ‘Article 6’, ‘Musharraf: Hero of Pakistan‘ and ‘Pakistan Army’; these trends have tightly gripped Twitter since yesterday.
Wondering why no punishment for judges who backed legitimised earn personal benefits from Musharraf why no punishment for politicians who made his cabinets and those who signed NRO with him in cases of loot and plunder. Did only the Ex COAS betrayed the constitution? No justice
— Kamran Khan (@AajKamranKhan) December 17, 2019
Musharraf is a living example of a good guy who happened to be a bad dictator:
He allowed elections (which pushed him out), deregulated media (which pushed him out), freed up the courts (which pushed him out), mended fences w/ India (to be pushed out for it). He asked for this.
— Waj S. Khan (@WajSKhan) December 17, 2019
Politician Marvi Memon, actress Mehwish Hayat, Shaan Shahid, Mustafa Zahid and a score of prominent journalists, to name a few, strongly reacted to the decision. They all unanimously called SC’s decision mala fide. Former Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir also expressed his reservation in a TV show.
Those wanting to see General #Musharraf being branded as a traitor through an unconstitutional act, are known for their infamous money laundering, corruption, bad governance, India Appeasement and joining hands with our enemy sometimes via Memogate, sometimes via Dawn Leaks. pic.twitter.com/zGJKQylMB3
— Air Marshal Shahid Latif – (Retd) (@AMShahidLatif) December 18, 2019
My name is #Musharaf and I am not a #Traitor #DGISPR pic.twitter.com/nshBZHn9JY
— Aamir Liaquat Husain (@AamirLiaquat) December 17, 2019
All those cheering the death penalty for Pervez Musharraf need to exhale and sit down. The same court awarding the same verdict to one of their favourite politicians would be called draconian and brutal.
— Mehr Tarar (@MehrTarar) December 17, 2019
Several Twitter users chorused the slogan that if Musharraf is a traitor they are too a traitor. Moreover, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, expressed concerns on CJP Asif Saeed Khosa’s post-verdict statements and demanded him to elaborate to unwind the reflection of bias and vengeance in the SC’s decision.
چیف جسٹس پاکستان کی اس گفتگو کی وضاحت ضروری ہے، اس گفتگو سے یہ تاثر ملتا ہے کہ گویا چیف جسٹس مقدمے پر اثر انداز ہوئے اور مخصوص فیصلہ حاصل کرنے کیلئے دباؤ ڈالا، یہ انتہائ نا مناسب بات ہے جو چیف جسٹس پاکستان سے منسوب کی گئ ہے۔ https://t.co/FMD6Lv2PUy
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) December 18, 2019
President Musharaf was NEVER and can never be a traitor. Many others have hurt the country in HUGE way. NOT HIM. https://t.co/e8HB9CrF2g
— Marvi Memon (@marvi_memon) December 17, 2019
جس خبر پر بھارت اور بھارتی میڈیا خوشیاں مناۓ وہ خبر کیونکر پاکستان کیلیے باعث مسرت ہو سکتی ہے؟ #زرا_سوچیے
#MusharrafVerdict #SpecialCourt #PervaizMusharraf
— Nadia Mirza (@nadia_a_mirza) December 17, 2019
غیر موجودگی میں سزا دی گئی، کیا جلدی تھی فیصلہ سنانے کی؟ مشرف بیمار ہیں اور آئی سی یو میں زیر علاج ہیں، پرویز مشرف کو سنا نہیں گیا، ٹرائل صرف فیئر ہونا نہیں چاہیے ہوتا دکھائی بھی دینا چاہیے۔
اٹارنی جنرل انور منصور
— Ajmal Jami (@ajmaljami) December 17, 2019
Social media users, however, are convinced that the verdict is unlikely to be carried out but stoking the trend of declaring people traitor is frightening and holds dire consequences for Pakistan. Those who are rejoicing the decision today must be conscious of its consequences.
Pervez’s Musharraf plea
Earlier, former President Musharraf released his video on Twitter pleading for his right to defend the case in the court. He said that a commission must be formed that would visit him and confirm his sickness.
He complains that he is being denied fair justice since the court has not listened to his lawyer in the case and is about to give the verdict without listening to him. He recalled that he is not a traitor but he has served Pakistan for many years including fighting many wars for the country as a soldier. He declared the treason case against him as ‘baseless’.
He said he has been seriously ill for a very long time. General Musharraf added that he has been admitted to hospital after he fainted.