News Analysis |

Salman Safdar, legal counsel for former president Pervez Musharraf, announced that his client is likely to return to Pakistan on May, 1. Mr Safdar reportedly told media personnel that despite his deteriorating medical condition, the former military ruler is determined to appear before the court that has summoned him for the hearing scheduled for May 2.

It is pertinent to mention here that last month a special court had ordered Musharraf to appear before it on May 2. His counsel had subsequently put forth Musharraf’s request to appear in court on May 13 instead. “If he can come to court on May 13, Musharraf can also appear before the court on May 2. If he doesn’t, the court will pass an appropriate order regarding recording his statement,” Justice Tahira had said, warning that he would otherwise lose the right of defence.

Plan Cancelled?

But late in the evening on Saturday, Ali Nawab Chitrali, member of Musharraf’s party, All Pakistan Muslim League, told media that the former president was unlikely to come back to Pakistan due to deteriorating health. “Gen Musharraf is eager to come to Pakistan and wants to appear before the court.

He has been suffering from severe backbone pain and the medical board has advised him not to travel. Moreover, he has been facing pressure from his family that he should not travel at the cost of his health. However, as everyone knows that Gen Musharraf is a man of his words so still there are 50 per cent chances of his return,” he said.

Read more: Supreme Court asks why Musharraf case is on standstill

Background of the Case

Musharraf is being trialled for imposing emergency in 2007 and detaining the judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. A case was registered against him in 2013 and his name was placed in the Exit Control List (ECL) by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on the directives of the Sindh High Court (SHC).

Later on, the Supreme Court of Pakistan allowed Musharraf to go abroad for his medical check-up and his name was removed from the ECL. Moreover, the special court has declared Mr. Musharraf an absconder, issued perpetual warrants of his arrest and commenced proceedings under Section 87, 88 CrPC for attachment of his properties on July 19, 2016. On April 29, 2018 an application was filed by the federal government to give verdict on high treason case against Musharraf as early as possible.

The application titled “Federal Government of Pakistan versus retired General Pervez Musharraf”  read as “The turn of events have unfolded and he [Musharraf] has categorically made statement to the media abroad that he left the country with the help of his institution thereby casting aspersions on our armed forces and its then chief retired Gen Raheel Sharif.”

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It further mentioned that “it is a matter of common knowledge that shortly after leaving Pakistan he was seen on videos shared on social media sites where he is swaying to the beats of the music in wedding festivities and during his three months preferred stay in Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) he did not receive a single tablet of aspirin or underwent any angiogram test as according to him at that time the angiogram posed a potential threat to his life”. The former CJP made many attempts to bring back the former military dictator to Pakistan but all in vein.

Analysts’ Opinion

Analysts believe that the former President shall prefer not to come back and avoid serious problems for himself. It is believed that the health condition of Musharraf is not satisfactory which clearly gives him a reason to avoid court proceedings or serve any term in the prison if convicted.

Last time when the former CJP designed a trap for Musharraf and invited him to come back on his on conditions e.g. pre-arrest bail and dignified treatment, analysts suggested Musharraf not to throw himself in troubled waters. Dr. Moeed Pirzada, the prominent Pakistani journalist, said that “Will Gen. Musharraf be “naive” enough to fall in this trap? Hope he has brains enough not to create problems for all sides…and he won’t win from any seats…enjoy retired life..”

Read more: Musharraf to lose his right to defend if fails to appear on May 2:…

GVS contacted G-M Pitafi, academic and Political commentator, for his comment on the development. “I have always maintained that the former dictator shall not come back. He left the country not to return and face the courts. Musharraf knows his position is very weak and the courts are comparatively independent now, therefore, he would never commit a mistake of surrendering before the present government,” he said.

When asked what will happen if Musharraf does not come back, Mr. Pitafi said “nothing is going to happen. The world shall remain the same. The court may give a verdict against Musharraf which shall always remain controversial since the former dictator’s followers would have some excuses to politically challenge and disregard the decision given in the absence of their leader”.