Is Mr. Ansar Abbasi right about invoking Article 6 of the Constitution against former President Musharraf?
A dispassionate analysis of the said article of the Constitution proves that he is not right.
Article 6 states in clause 2 that “any person aiding or abetting the acts mentioned in clause 1 shall likewise be guilty of high treason”.
Article 6 cannot be applied selectively on President Musharraf alone but will have to be applied equally on all those who ‘abetted’ him.
Musharraf abrogated the Constitution twice. First in October 1999. It was a coup against an elected prime minister. Very few judges objected to the takeover and a majority of the judges took oath under the PCO, Parliament was dissolved and remained suspended for more than three years (endorsed by the Supreme Court) until it was reinstated in November 2002.
The second was in November 2007 when the so called emergency rule was imposed. Interestingly, this was not a coup. The move targeted the judiciary. The government and the Parliament remained intact and the emergency lasted for six weeks.
Once Mr Musharraf is charged for treason, justice cannot be selectively applied only on the action of 3 November 2007 while ignoring the more serious action of October 1999. It will therefore be imperative to try Musharraf and his abettors both for October 1999 and November 2007.
Now comes the one million dollar question: Will Article 6 be applied on the abettors of the two arrogations?
The ‘abettors’ in the Article 6 include senior members of the present Supreme Court who abetted the coup in 1999. All members of the present Supreme Court of Pakistan had pledged their allegiance to Musharraf by taking the PCO oath in 2000.
The abettors of the coups led by generals Ayub, Yahya, and Zia ul Haq can be set aside because they and most of their abettors are no longer alive. But the ‘abettors’ of General Musharraf’s coup are around. All of them will have to be charged for treason along with Musharraf. That is the only that across-the-board justice will be done.
Do Ansar Abbasi and Hamid Mir want to proceed with this mass trial?
My advice is this: Let’s get out of the Musharraf-phobia and move on with life and the more important issues that the Nation is facing.
The writer is a Pakistani commentator who lives in Rawalpindi. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Filed under: Lawyers' Agitation