The legendary call of the Musketeers, "All for one, One for all", comes from the Latin phrase, Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro unois and is also the traditional motto of Switzerland and a central part of the dome of the Federal Palace.
The phrase is a also highlighted in the 1998 film, The Man in the Iron Mask, directed, produced, and written by Randall Wallace, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as King Louis XIV of France, Gabriel Byrne as D'Artagnan, John Malkovich as Athos, Gérard Depardieu as Porthos and Jeremy Irons as Aramis, as the aging Musketeers.
Their clarion call and their loyalty to each other is established when D'Artagnan refuses to obey his King’s orders to kill the three Musketeers, who are his brothers in arms.
Reverting to real time, we have a similar situation in Pakistan, with the trial of Gen. Musharraf, the former COAS, who is being tried for treason in a special civilian court, under the hammers of three senior and respected Hon. Judges of Sindh, Balochistan and Lahore High Courts.
Like the Musketeers, the comrades of the General have started to voice their displeasure at the trial of their former Chief in a civilian court and have warned that the army would not tolerate these actions against a General.
Some 500 hundred ex-servicemen, from the rank of General to Major, a former Punjab governor, Naval Chief and DG, IB, had assembled in Lahore last week, to support the former Army Chief, who is facing charges of high treason in a special court. The meeting was spearheaded by DG Rashid Qureshi of Inter-Services Public Relation (ISPR) and a close aide of the General, under Musharraf’s call of “Pakistan First”.
They voiced their support for the former military ruler, who they consider as a loyal Pakistani, incapable of disloyalty, dishonesty or to act against the national interest and decided to launch a movement to support him and vowed to continue the struggle for his protection, as it was indeed a matter of concern for a soldier, when his army chief was dubbed a traitor and treated him in a manner that was unbecoming a General of the military.
The Special court has stated that the country’s ‘Criminal Procedure Code’ will apply in the treason trial, as such, an out-of-court settlement or plea bargain looks unlikely, thereby dashing the hopes of Musharraf’s supporters, who were expecting the former army chief to be allowed to leave the country for medical treatment and bringing an end to the saga.
So, is this going to be another movement, similar to the one that was launched by the legal fraternity to protect its Chief and restore him as Chief Justice of Pakistan, which eventually turned into a tsunami that swept away the former President and forced him to resign and leave the country?
No doubt, the lawyer’s movement was successful, because it had the support of ordinary citizens and the media, but in Musharraf’s case, the protests at present are confined to his comrades in arms. However, there are apprehensions that if the General is treated like a common criminal and tried for treason, then such an action could trigger another more powerful tsunami, which could be the sound of the bugle and marching boots, that could sweep Nawaz Sharif’s democratically elected government back to Saudi Arabia. No doubt, there is no substitute for democracy, but In all fairness, let us examine what our various once, twice and thrice democratically governments have achieved when they have been elected into power.
Did the last, twice elected PPP government manage to improve the quality of life of the ordinary citizens of Pakistan, especially the forgotten ones, who still live without safe water and education, health and basic facilities? Has it provided the citizens a just social order and the much heralded ‘ROTI – KAPRA – MAKAN, which was promised to them by ZAB, the founder of the party?
As such, when the General asks the country to compare the performance of democratically elected governments for the last 50 years, then there is some justification in his bitterness, as each successive civilian government has been as bad as its previous one.
So there we have it, democracy and strict adherence to the constitution or changes in the ‘Sacred Document’, which can keep a check on the performance of a democratically elected government.
We have seen the disastrous results of a corrupt and incompetent government, which was allowed to govern the country for five years, unchecked and without being held accountable and cannot allow another incompetent government to do so again for another five years.
The changes in the Constitution could be in the form of establishing a five member Judicial Council, comprising of Chief Justices of all the four provinces of Pakistan and a retired senior most CJ of Pakistan, with the power to call for fresh elections. Such a change could perhaps stop army interventions, ‘In the Best Interest of the Country’, as have been the case in the past.
The Commando, who has always boasted that he was not afraid of anything except Allah, has once again managed to dodge his day in court, giving his critics an opportunity to suggest that he has ‘chickened out’.
So in his own interest, it would be better if the General proved to the country that he is indeed a Commando and not afraid to face the music, presented himself in the court, leaving his fate in the hands of Allah.
How long will the court allow this game of ‘Catch me if you can’ to go on, is not clear, but the Hon. Judges are duty bound to act according to law, removing the general impression that there is one law for the rich and the powerful and another for the poor and the weak.
At the same time, the Shylock’s of ‘Get Musharraf’ Brigade are sharpening their knives and demanding their pound of flesh, as they hold the General responsible for dragging us into America’s ‘War against terror’, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent citizens and destroyed the nation’s economy.
However, according to Charlie, my singing canary, if the court proceeds according to law, then there are apprehensions that the call of ‘All for one’ might echo through the barracks of Army Headquarters and trigger another military intervention, once again, ‘In the best interest of the country’.
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