CHARGESHEET AGAINST PERVAIZ MUSHARRAF, A GENERAL DISMISSED ON 12.10.1999
The News International
October 12, 1999
This charge sheet is being issued against a retired government servant, Pervaiz Musharraf, to hold him accountable for his professional misconduct, abuse of power and numerous criminal actions, including the worst possible contempt of court and two acts of high treason. The following a brief background to show how Musharraf, came to occupy a position as a government, where he could abrogate the Constitution, subjugate national institutions and threaten and terrorize Prime Minister, ministers, politicians, judges, journalists and ordinary citizens of Pakistan.
A. Pervaiz Musharraf, DOB August 11, 1943, son of another government servant, Syed Musharrafuddin, presently occupying President Camp Office at Rawalpindi, joined Pakistan Military Academy as a cadet in 1961, and upon graduation, joined Pakistan Army as a Second Lieutenant.
B. As a person, Musharraf has himself described himself as a chronically undisciplined and mischievous person, having no regard for rules or discipline. In his autobiography, mentioning his friend Tariq Aziz, he says the latter was ‘not that friendly’ with him at FC College, ‘probably because he was a “good boy,” reluctant to join me in mischief-making.’ [Page 32]. And according to him, the reason his mother decided to send him into the Army was because of his ‘excessive energy and mischievousness’ [Page 30].
C. Before describing the magnitude and breadth his crimes and other illegal acts, it is important first to emphasise that by nature, he has always a completely unprincipled man, having complete contempt for any kind of discipline, rules, and laws and always believing and conducting himself to be completely above the law. And instead of being embarrassed by this habit, he takes pride in it. Once his nature is understood, it is no longer surprising to see that he broke law after law, ruling Pakistan like a monarch. What one finds surprising is that how did the whole system of Army failed to notice this dangerous of the man and did not kick him out at the earliest opportunity. The following incident, narrated by Musharraf himself, is quite instructive of his nature.
“I was still more of an officer than a gentleman. It didn’t take long for me to get into trouble. In mid-1965, with clouds of war with India gathering, my unit was moved into the Changa Manga forest near Lahore. .. I applied for six days leave to go to Karachi. My Commanding Officer would have none of it. .. I defied his decision, bought a train ticket and boarded the Karachi Express and went home for the eight days.”[When a colleague phoned him to warn him that he was in trouble and that he should rush back, he says]
“I refused and took the full eight days off that I had “granted” myself.’ [Quotation marks around the word granted are his own]. On my return, my Commanding Officer went ballistic and initiated court-martial proceedings against me. What saved me was the war of 1965….”
D. The strangest thing is that how could such a persistently mischievous and undisciplined man not only remain in an Army that claims to be so highly disciplined but gets promoted again and again and again. In 1991, he became Major General, in 1995 he became Lieutenant General.
E. In 1998, Musharraf was Corps Commander at Mangla. On October 7, 1998, upon the resignation of COAS, General Jehangir Karamat, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, exercising his legal authority to do so, appointed Musharraf as his COAS.
F. Within one year of his appointment, Musharraf started threatening the Prime Minister of the country, refused to accept his dismissal, arrested the Prime Minister and hundreds of political workers throughout the country, and then, during the subsequent nine years, has broken numerous statutory provisions of law, committed gravest contempt of court possible, showed complete contempt for life and liberty of people, rejoicing at cold murder of innocent people, and first illegally held power as Chief Executive of Pakistan and then, on the pretext of two shady presidential elections, continues to pretend that he is duly elected Head of the State of Pakistan. Despite whatever a subdued and over-awed judiciary and parliament may have done since 12th October 1999, Musharaf’s legal status does not stand improved at all from that of a general who, on 12th October 1999, was duly dismissed from service by the then President of Pakistan who was acting on a duly tendered advice of the then Prime Minister.
List of Charges
While it may take hundreds of pages to describe crimes and misdemeanors of the man in question, the following is a brief description of the charges against him:
- Public Servant threatened the Prime Minister of the country
Article 243 of the Constitution provides: ‘The Federal Government shall have control and command of the Armed Forces.’ Article 90 read with Article 48 shows that the Federal Government is headed by Prime Minister, who shall exercise his authority in the name of the President.
But despite being Constitutionally bound to remain under the control and command of the Federal Government, Musharraf admits to having threatened the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
On page 110-111 of his autobiography, Musharraf himself proudly describes how he, a government servant, threatened the Prime Minister:
“I had already conveyed an indirect warning to the Prime Minister through several intermediaries: ‘I am not Jehangir Karamat.’ My predecessor [Jehangir Karamat] had retired quietly … A few days later, back in Rawalpindi, the Prime Minister’s younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, who was also Chief Minister of Punjab Province, came to meet me regarding the tension with his brother … I told him to tell his brother two things. One, I would not agree to give up my position of Chief of Army Staff and be kicked upstairs as Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee before my term was up.’
2. High Treason
In October 1999, before leaving for Sri Lanka, Musharraf directed his senior officers not to allow the Prime Minister to dismiss him. So it was that when, on 12 October 1999, the President, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, dismissed Musharraf as COAS, Army officers, acting on the directions of Musharraf, placed the Prime Minister under arrest. They did not realise then that all the legal formalities for dismissal of Musharraf already stood completed and that Musharraf was no longer their boss. Musharraf, while still in the plane, ordered Major General Malik Iftikhar Ali Khan over the radio to tell [Lt. General] Mehmud and [Lt. General] Aziz that nobody was to leave the country. [Page 106 of autobiography]. It was an act of high treason where a dismissed government servant, arrested the Prime Minister and used brute force to take control of the very government under the command and control of which the Constitution required him to work. He issued a PCO, required superior judges to take an oath under PCO otherwise they would no longer be judges. He then started ruling the whole country as a self-declared Chief Executive of Pakistan, a post that has not even been mentioned in the Constitution of Pakistan. Later on, when a member of ousted Parliament, Syed Zafar Ali Shah challenged the validity of Musharraf’s actions, he pressurised judges to legitimise his rule. In the end, on 12th May 2000, a Supreme Court, acting under coercion and threat, instead of punishing Musharraf for his acts of high treason as defined in Article 6 of Constitution, gave validity to all his actions, and allowed him to rule the country for three years while also giving him the power to amend the Constitution.
- Government servant seeking to become Head of State without following election procedure given in the Constitution. As the three year period for which the Supreme Court had allowed him to rule came to an end, instead of leaving power, Musharraf realised that he now wanted to become President of Pakistan for five years. But the problem was that Article 41 required President to be elected by the assemblies but he had himself dismissed assemblies. So he issued the so-called Referendum Order 2002, under which he took the country through a farce of referendum, in which there was no other candidate contesting, and as a result declared himself as elected President of the country for five years.
- Involvement in Politics and Rigging General Elections in 2002. Before finally holding elections on 10th October 2002, Musharraf, in complete violation of his oath of office as an Army officer, openly manipulated and supervised the creation of a new political party (PML(Q), comprising people who were willing to support all his illegal rule. While he attended and addressed various rallies of PML (Q), sometimes even in Army uniform, he did not allow either of the two leaders of the two largest political parties back into the country to conduct an election campaign. All international commentators to date, label those elections as massively rigged, with the PML(N) winning only 19 seats against PML(Q)’s 126 seats. After the elections, Musharraf himself, manipulated and immersed himself fully into politics to ensure the formation of his own puppet govt., where even the National Assembly or PML(Q) had no say in choosing their Prime Minister. Subsequently, at one point in time, he changed three Prime Ministers in three months.
- Coercing Parliament into indemnifying his high treason and other illegal acts and accepting him as President. Under the pretense of aiming to bring the country back onto the democratic track, Musharraf negotiated with certain Parliamentary parties, pressurising them by saying that he would only take off his uniform if the Parliament were to indemnify all his illegal actions and accept him as duly elected President of Pakistan. Finally, the understanding was reduced into writing, which contained his commitment to take off his uniform maximum by 31st December 2004. But as that agreed arrangement was adopted by the Parliament through adoption of Constitutional (17th Amendment) Act 2003, while the indemnity for his PCO and all other acts and his acceptance as a duly elected President (subject to a vote of confidence) was clearly specified, his commitment to take off his uniform was not spelled out in clear terms, a fact that he and his lawyers were able to use later to justify the legality of his breach of commitment. The simple basis of the whole negotiations and the 17th Constitutional Amendment was that there was a dictator who was negotiating with Parliament at gunpoint that unless he was accepted as President for another five years, he would not take off his uniform.
- Breaching his commitment to take off uniform by 31.12. 2004. Despite having given a written commitment to the members of the Parliament and a public commitment to the whole nation, Musharraf broke his own promise and refused to retire on 31st December 2004. When challenged, he and his supporters, without being in a position to deny that Musharraf had breached his clear commitment, sought to hide behind some kind of ambiguity in the language of the Proviso of Article 41(7) to show that the said Proviso does not Constitutionally bind Musharraf to take off his uniform. So the way the justification was put forward was that while Musharraf had certainly breached his commitment, it was not unconstitutional for him to do so.
- Illegal extension of service beyond the age of superannuation. On 10.8.2003, Musharraf turned 60, a date upon which he was supposed to have retired. But despite that, he kept on abusing the law by keeping on extending his service till, under tremendous public pressure, he was finally forced to retire on 28th November 2007.
- Committing worst contempt of court by insulting, threatening, suspending and detaining CJP along with his family. On 9th March 2007, Musharraf took his impunity for law and institutions of the State to a new extreme by demanding Chief Justice of Pakistan to resign, and upon his refusal to do so, suspending him and place him and all his family and children in detention. He also levelled base allegations against Chief Justice of Pakistan. The nation had had enough of this mischievous and spoiled dictator. Encouraged by nationwide protests, a 13 member bench of Supreme Court started hearing the oddest and most difficult case in the history of the world, a case where Chief Justice of a country was himself a petitioner in his own court, seeking his own restoration against the order of military dictator. In the end, on 20th July 2007, seeing the blatant illegality and absurdity of Musharraf’s action, the whole 13 member bench unanimously ordered the restoration of their Chief Justice.
- Another High Treason Not satisfied with his usurping and retaining control of the whole State for an uninterrupted period from 12 October 1999 to the end of 2007, Musharaf wanted yet another five years to rule Pakistan. But as the National Assembly approached completion of its five-year term, instead of allowing new assemblies to be elected, which could then elect a new President for five years, Musharraf decided to use the same outgoing assemblies, that had already once given him five years to be President, to elect him President again. But lawyers, supported by media and political parties, decided to go all out to block Musharraf’s attempt to become President for another five years. As hundreds of members of assemblies resigned in protest against Musharraf bid to be elected, the Supreme Court while hearing a petition of Justice Retd. Wajihuddin Ahmed allowed the polling for President’s election to go ahead but directed Election Commission not to issue the official notification of result until the Supreme Court had finally passed a verdict on the eligibility of Musharraf for contesting the said elections. Seeing the nationwide protests organised by lawyers and getting scared of their robust arguments before the Supreme Court, and realising that the Supreme Court judges were not amenable to pressure and thus could not be relied upon giving him legitimacy for his next five-year rule, Musharraf panicked. It was thus that on 3rd November 2007, Musharraf proceeded to impose a virtual martial law in the country, and in his capacity as COAS (not as President of Pakistan) issued another PCO, sacked all the judges of superior courts, arrested the judges, ordered members of Army to enter the Supreme Court building and break open the door of sacred chamber of Chief Justice of Pakistan and to place him and his family under arrest. All the judges of Supreme Court and High Courts were dismissed and placed under arrest, except for those who agreed to take a new oath under the new PCO. In addition, on the same evening, all the news channels were taken off the air and police officials all over the country beat up and threw in prison hundreds of lawyers. Just because he was not being allowed to rule Pakistan for another five years, Musharraf threw the whole country into the complete legal wilderness by unleashing a vicious campaign of terror, something unprecedented even in the history of this country. There was no media, no law, no courts, and police could enter courts and beat up any senior lawyers and throw them into prison.
Musharraf justified all his actions by comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln, and saying that he had to amputate the limb to save the body, implying that the whole country, nation and courts were no more than a limb, while Musharraf himself was the body. The new judges of Supreme Court, all having taken oath under the new PCO of Musharraf, declared Musharraf eligible for holding the office of the President and also upheld all the illegal and criminal actions of Musharraf.
(It was because of tremendous condemnation and pressure, both from within and outside the country, that Musharraf was finally forced to allow both main political parties’ leaders back into Pakistan to lead their parties’ election campaigns. In addition, now under tremendous pressure and facing an extreme hate wave, Musharraf was not able to rig the elections, his political party was decimated in the elections, and he was forced to take off his uniform on 28th November 2007).
- Murder, physical abuse, illegal arrests and blatant violation of Fundamental Rights that have weakened the Federation. During his illegal control of all executive power in Pakistan, Musharraf has demonstrated an utter lack of concern for human life and dignity and took decisions that weakened the Federation by making people of Balochistan and other small provinces feel alienated. The following are just a few instances of his abuse of power and violation of fundamental rights:
– Deliberate criminal avoidance on his part to make adequate security arrangements for the protection of Benazir Bhutto’s life, despite her formal written request for him to do. And instead of coming to her help after she escaped the serious attempt on her life on 18th October 2007, Musharaf refused to allow her even register an FIR about the incident. Instead, he is reported to have told her over the phone that her security was conditional upon her relationship with him. That is why in her last email to her publisher, Benazir Bhutto had herself, in case of her assassination, expressly charge sheeted Musharaf as her killer.
– Incarcerating judges of Supreme Court and High Court, along with their families.
– Chose to deal with Nawab Akbar Bugti through violence instead of seeking an amicable settlement, thus showing lack of any concern for due process of law or for the feeling of rage that Nawab Bugti’s killing may provoke among the people in Balochistan
– At first, allowing Jamia Hafza problem to exacerbate, and then, all of a sudden, instead of seeking an amicable resolution, ordered total murder operation there
– Encouraging murder of dozens of innocent people in Karachi on 12th May 2007 just because they wanted to give a warm welcome to their Chief Justice and the same evening gloated over this show of power
– Allowing agencies a completely free hand to kidnap anyone from anywhere and hand over that person to any foreign government without following due process of law and Chief Justice of Pakistani demanded production of missing persons, Musharraf complained about it to the American government
– Through all his hateful acts and by involving Army officers into all his misdeeds, he caused development among the people anger and hatred against the Army
Lawyers of Pakistan cannot help but take pride in the fact that with the help of courageous journalists, they have succeeded in encouraging the nation to be conscious of its rights, to have no tolerance for usurpers of power and to travel well beyond the expectation of that great jurist and Judge, Justice Yaqub, who famously said in Asma Jillani Case,
“My own view is that a person who destroys the national legal order in an illegitimate manner cannot be regarded as a valid source of law-making. Maybe, that on account of his holding the coercive apparatus of the State, the people and the courts are silenced temporarily, but let it be laid down firmly that the order with which the usurper imposes will remain illegal and courts will not recognize its rule and act upon them as de jure. As soon as the first opportunity arises, when the coercive apparatus falls from the hands of the usurper, he should be tried for high treason and suitably punished. This alone will serve as a deterrent to would-be adventurers. “
With the grace of Allah, we are a living nation today. A nation that is not willing to be silenced even “temporarily” and to wait till “the coercive apparatus falls from the hands of the usurper” before it proceeds to hold him accountable. On 9th March 2007, Musharraf was the most ruthless and powerful of all usurpers in the history of Pakistan. But we, the lawyers, with the help of media, political workers, and the whole nation, did not wait for Musharraf to step down from power. We and our courageous judges, who have shown unprecedented courage in the history of the world, have been pushing and pushing the usurper, slowly but relentlessly, towards the dark dungeon of accountability.
It is time that Musharraf realised that the nation expressed unprecedented anger and hate against him in the Long March, and had lawyers not intervened because of their belief in rule of law and in non-violence, people might have done anything to treat him like Mussolini was treated.
It is up to Musharraf now to immediately follow in the footsteps of Edi Amin and Shah of Iran. Otherwise, he would not only face impeachment but lawyers, after the restoration of judges, will prosecute him for the offence of high treason under Article 6 and all other crimes that he has committed, which have been briefly summed up in this charge sheet.