Interior Minister Rehman Malik assured Senate on Wednesday that former president Pervez Musharraf would be arrested upon his return to Pakistan.
“I assure this house that if he lands in Pakistan, he will be arrested because he is a proclaimed offender in the Benazir Bhutto murder case,” the minister said.
The interior minister’s assurance comes a day after Senator Raza Rabbani submitted a 10-point charge sheet in Senate, calling for the former dictator’s arrest.
Malik said the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government never said that it would not take action against Musharraf, and added that while it is the responsibility of the federal government to give an order for registering a case against Musharraf, it is important for someone to register a complaint in this regard.
The minister also said that Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry should take suo moto notice of the non-constitutional steps taken by the former dictator on November 3, 2007 when he imposed emergency, in clear violation of the Constitution.
He also said that the government had already started the process of issuing a ‘red warrant’ to bring Musharraf back through Interpol.
“A committee should be set up to discuss the complaints against Musharraf,” Malik added.
Senator Rabbani, meanwhile, said that Musharraf was a Pakistani national and should be treated according to law of the land.
The PPP senator said it was alarming that the former president was trying to make the US issue statements in his favour for his return to Pakistan.
Rabbani warned the US against interfering in internal matter of the country and further demanded the government to charge Musharraf under article 6, upon his arrival. “Pakistan will never accept the intervention of the US over Musharraf,” he added.
Leader of the Opposition Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said the JUI-F will support the government if it takes action against Musharraf, who, he said, killed innocent students of Jamia Hafsa.
ANP Senator Hasil Bizenjo alleged that Musharraf was responsible for missing persons across the country, adding that he was the one who started the Balochistan operation during his tenure.
ANP Senator Zahid Khan said that Musharraf was responsible for the present situation of the country as he ‘introduced’ the war against terrorism.
Later, Senate Deputy Chairman Mir Jan Muhammad Jamali asked Senators including Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Zafar Ali Shah, Raza Rabbani and Rehman Malik to sit together to prepare the complaint to register a case against Musharraf under article 6 of the Constitution.
Addressing a political rally on January 8 in Karachi, Musharraf promised his arrival in Pakistan between January 27 and January 30 to take part in the general elections, which are now extensively being anticipated later this year.
Meanwhile, Wednesday’s proceedings condemned the murder of journalist Mukaram Khan Atif, who was killed in Charsadda on Wednesday, and offered prayers for the departed soul.
Earlier, journalists staged a walkout from the House in protest against the brutal killing of the journalist and demanded a probe into the case. The House assured that the issue will be properly pursued.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2012.