Former president Pervez Musharraf has announced he’s arriving in Pakistan on January 29, but it appears his entry into the country may not be easy – especially after Senator Raza Rabbani demanded that he be arrested. The senior Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker submitted a 10-point charge-sheet against Musharraf in Senate on Tuesday, calling for his arrest on arrival.
The move appears to be an initiative to take legal action against the former military chief, but a final decision will be made in line with the government’s policy by the end of this month.
“He should be arrested because he has twice breached the constitution,” said Senator Rabbani on the floor of the House. “A treason case should be filed against him under Article 6 of the Constitution.”
Senators across the political spectrum were clapping and thumping their benches while the senator made his points.
“Is this not a breach of national security?” asked an indignant Rabbani, while informing the lawmakers that no written agreement existed between Islamabad and Washington when Musharraf had allowed the US to use Pakistan’s territory, including Shamsi Airbase.
Benazir, Bugti case
“Musharraf must be arrested at airport on his arrival – it’s my message for the government through the Leader of the House in the Senate,” emphasised Rabbani. In addition, murder cases against Musharraf for planning the death of former premier Benazir Bhutto and directing the killing of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti should be filed, he said.
Senator Abdul Malick of the National Party also chimed in, saying the upper house of Parliament should pass a resolution against him. “Senators across party lines will deliberate legal grounds for a high treason case against him.”
Even Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz endorsed Rabbani’s statements. Senator Raja Zafarul Haq termed him “Pakistan’s biggest culprit – whose trial is inevitable”. Meanwhile, Awami National Party Senator Zahid Khan had his own input, saying Musharraf should be tried on ordering the killing of innocent people in bordering areas. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Senator Khalid Mehmood was no less vehement, saying the former military dictator should be hanged for ordering the killing of innocent students of Jamia Hafsa and the operation in Lal Masjid.
Lawmakers also demanded that Musharraf be interrogated on the issue of missing persons in Balochistan. Several senators emphasised that he was responsible for ‘creating a rift’ between the people of Balochistan and the federal government by ordering intelligence agencies to kidnap innocent people in the troubled province.
Before Senator Rabbani’s charge sheet stole the limelight on the floor of the House, Senate Chairman Farooq H Naek welcomed a delegation of Indian lawmakers who visited Parliament on Tuesday. Lawmakers expressed solidarity, hoping the Indian lawmakers’ visit would be fruitful in trust-building efforts.
Balochistan senator stages sit-in
The senators may have been troubled about the missing persons issue, but Senator Humayun Mandokhail, an independent lawmaker from Balochistan, had other ideas. Mandokhail staged a sit-in outside Parliament to record a protest for the cause of his province. “I will record my protest by not attending this session as the current government failed to implement the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package,” he said, before walking out.
Meanwhile, during the Question Hour session, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar informed the House that over 1,570 Pakistanis were languishing in Saudi Arabia jails and over 101 were imprisoned in Spain. The ministry is taking up their cases with officials concerned in these countries, she stated in her written reply to Senate.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2012.