Symbolic Significance Of Musharraf Treason Verdict Cannot Be Ignored
Talimand Khan writes that irrespective of implementation of the Musharraf treason verdict, the importance of its future consequences is not lost on its detractors. The hullabaloo over the verdict has more been caused by the anxiety of setting a precedent for the potential usurpers than the love for a disgraced dictator.
Notwithstanding the para 66, the verdict of the Special Court in high treason case against the military dictator general retired Pervez Musharraf is a landmark judgement. The problem is not with the much castigated para 66 but with the ulcer eaten political stomach that had been pathologically rendered incapable to digest hard core remedies.
In fact, it was not the para 66 but the gist of the verdict that stirred the storm. Immediately after the announcement of the short order on December 17, the verdict was not only criticized but almost rejected. The para 66, which according to legal experts does not make core part of the judgement, appeared in the detail judgement two days later that proved a proverbial last straw to break the camel back. Now, the arch light of the detractors falls only on the epic para and is being used to explode the foundation of the verdict.
The verdict carries immense symbolic significance for future political course which makes it an epoch making. Thus, irrespective of its implementation, the importance of its future consequences is not lost on its detractors. Perhaps, the hullabaloo over the verdict has more been caused by the anxiety of setting a precedent for the potential usurpers than the love for a disgraced dictator. Regardless of the ire, the para 66 exposed many anti-monies and paradoxes.
This conditional observation of the honorable judge suddenly made human rights and humanity a burning issue in a society that witnessed mob justice, lynching, throat slitting and forceful disappearance in the course of last two decades.
Apart from this, civilization and justice became a buzz word in the land of the pure in the aftermath of the verdict and Justice Seth Vaqar’s observation has been presented something ominous that shaken the core of the proverbial civilization that witnessed and condoned not once but four times abrogation of the constitution.
Paradoxically, the civilization and justice espousing by the epigones of the dictatorial mindset do wish the hanging and dragging of non-conformist politicians, dissenters and rights activists. Their peculiar form of civilization and justice also allows and tolerates a vicious campaign against the judiciary, particularly, those judges who dare to dispense justice without fear and favor and stand by the constitution.
We never heard so much regarding sanctity of the human rights and dignity of human being in the history of this country as much we heard in the aftermath of the para 66. The irony just died a thousand deaths when we heard much on the subject from those who were previously apologists of the perpetrators of the gross human rights violation that had been justified in the name of religion and state security.
Ironically, except the few genuine voices who always spoke for the human rights as part of their political belief, the rest is a race to be look good by exploding the para as well as the honorable judge, because it is safe as the powerful said so, without putting a little effort to understand the context of the para, the mind and the status of the judge.
Firstly, the observation is conditional upon the situation where in the verdict not being implemented in the life time of the convict. Perhaps this flows from the judge’s concern regarding the swift implementation due to the powerful status of the convict. Therefore, due to the importance of this verdict for the political future of the country, it might be forewarn by the judge for the proper implementation of the court verdict during the life time of the absconding convict. The convict had already flaunted the court rulings by not appearing in the court to record his statement.
Secondly, the case was about the abrogation of the constitution and therefore, the para should also be seen through the lenses of a custodian of the constitution. In fact the Treaty of Westphalia gave birth to a territorially sovereign nation state. And the bedrock of this modern state is a social contract in the form of the constitution which embodies the consent and conditions of the people for constituting the state and accepting its sovereignty within the prescribed territorial limits.
Thus, presently there is no concept of the state without constitution. Therefore, at least theoretically, the abrogation of the constitution through unilateral action by an individual or a group of individuals without the pre consent of constituting party/parties is tantamount to the attack on the life of the state or at least putting it on the death table till the artificial provisional arrangements. During such insensate interregnum, the life of the state is exposed to serious internal and external threats.
To a legal mind, the state is a legal entity depending for its survival and smooth functioning on the supreme source of law of the state i.e the constitution. In the aftermath of the forceful abrogation of the constitution without the consent of the contracting parties reduces the state to the status of a fiefdom occupied through force by the usurper/s.
And in the fiefdom the words and whims of the usurper assume the force of law. Thus, in front of the court was the case of a person who trampled the fundamental rights of the millions and jolted the theoretical foundation of the state with gun point.
Currently, the abnormalities and dysfunctionalities being faced by the state system are the direct and indirect outcome of four times asphyxiation of the constitution.
Just for a while step in the shoe of Justice Seth Vaqar Ahmad, hearing a case of person violated the document that embodies the rights of the constituent population of the social contract, universally accepted concept of the state that posed a potential threat to the life of the state. And do not forget that an amendment had been inserted in the constitution to form military court to summarily prosecute those who potentially posed a threat to the state. Now write your observations!
The author is a political analyst based in Islamabad.