Blood libel

General Pervez Musharraf finally left the country but the mark of blood libel stays on him, including the alleged murder charges of Benazir Bhutto and Bugti, the Lal Masjid operation, and the accusation under article 6 of the constitution for imposition of emergency in the Country.

The terminology of ‘Blood Libel’ was coined during the medieval ages by the Jews for their killings by Christians for the alleged “host desacralisation” on the occasion of the service of Eucharist (the Holy Communion). As per the New Testament, it has been instituted by the Jesus Christ during the Last Supper where he gave bread and wine to his disciples and pronounced the former as his body and the later as his blood. According to Christian belief, he commanded them to commemorate the event in his memory. This service is celebrated on the day of Last Supper, when bread dipped in wine kept in the tabernacle by the Priest is distributed to Christians during the service. The amalgam, which is called ‘host’, is considered to be highly sacred. It is their belief that it hosts Jesus Christ and some even consider this to be his holy presence. During the rite of Eucharist, tiny pieces of host, which is considered a sacrament is distributed to the followers by the Priest for swallowing. The Jews, allegedly purporting to be Christians, would acquire the host and later desacralise it. The Jews always denied this and called it a libel thus declaring their killings as Blood Libel or killings for false accusations.

Notwithstanding the legalities involved in the Benazir Bhutto murder case, it is worthwhile to mention that Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who was already been holding the office of the President and had a history of following the line of Benazir Bhutto would have made a natural and comfortable combination with her as the Prime Minister rather than Nawaz Sharif, with whom he had been at daggers drawn. It is said that this combination also had the blessings of the “Masters” and the mere reason for promulgation of NRO has been attributed by many to be a tool to facilitate this combination. This leaves little motive for Gen. Pervez Musharraf to assassinate her. Her murder, in fact, was a severe setback for him. The evidence against the General as reported by the media is fairly sparse. As events subsequently unfolded, the main beneficiary after the death of Benazir Bhutto, in addition to effectively manipulating the fallout from this tragedy in a way that led to his control of the PPP, also managed to get the highest post in the country despite his awful reputation.

As regards the Bugti case, it had been an action by the state to enforce the writ of the government. The action was carried out by the Army in which two officers were also martyred. As reported by the media, witnesses from the Army testify that in actual fact Mr. Bugti, who had been hiding in a cave pre-prepared for demolition, blew himself up as the Army got closer, killing himself and the Army officers close to the scene. Mr. Bugti had earlier denounced the writ of the government in his rugged and far flung area of Dera Bugti in Baluchistan in retaliation for the suspension of the stipend for development by the Government to him and had commenced various subversive activities in Baluchistan; demolishing electric pylons and gas pipe lines etc. Traditionally, the development money is paid to the “Sardars” (chiefs of tribes) by the government in Baluchistan for the welfare of the extremely impoverished and backward people. Unfortunately, this money is wrongfully utilised by these Sardars to maintain their high standards of living. It is invariably not spent on the betterment of the people by them due to apprehensions that an educated populace would eventually denounce their chieftainships. Bugti was no exception, and when the government started distributing this money directly to the masses, in resentment he started various sabotage/subversive activities in Baluchistan.

The case of Lal Masjid killing is identical to the Bugti case since again it had been conducted by the Government. The operation had been conducted by Army and a senior officer was martyred. Maulana Abdul Rasheed who had been earlier appointed as an Imam of the mosque by the CDA on meager salary, had managed to build his own empire by establishing a madrasah via donations from the rich, and illegally annexing adjacent lands. Ignoring the fact that Pakistan is an Islamic state whose constitution is based on Islamic Ideology, the Maulana started enforcing his version of Islam by illegally raiding the surrounding areas. His men abducted Chinese citizens for running a massage centre and also snatched weapons from policemen. Veiled women wielding batons had become an emblem of the madrassa, as was repeatedly shown in the media. This led to extreme embarrassment for the government with the Chinese government and also at the international level, apart from being an outright challenge to the writ of the State. Due to the rigidness of the Maulana, a series of marathon negotiations failed. During this process, a Lieutenant Colonel of Pakistan Army was killed while trying to crawl to the boundary wall of the madrasah. There was more than ample reason for the government headed by General Musharraf to forcibly occupy the madrasah. Maulana Rasheed was killed during the operation. His brother Maulana Abdul Aziz, however, managed to escape by wearing a burqa (veil). The allegation that thousands of students of the madrasah, both men and women, were killed is a total fabrication. Not a single person from the families of the allegedly killed has appeared on the media to lament the “unjust” killing of his or her loved one.

As regards the case of imposition of emergency under article 6 of constitution, General Musharraf during his stint imposed emergency in order to remove the sitting Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry for alleged corruption as no viable remedy is provided in the constitution in this regard. In case the chief justice is charged with corruption, his case is referred to the supreme judicial council, which is headed by the chief justice himself. In such a case, dispensation of justice is not expected as the chief justice’s personal interest is involved. Interestingly however, this nation witnessed the media trial of Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s son who was allegedly involved in corruption by the business tycoon, Malik Riaz, who gave embarrassing statements against the Chief Justice and his son. General Musharraf however has no allegation of corruption against him.

The mere fact that Gen. Pervez Musharraf who unprecedentedly returned to Pakistan of his own accord in order to face the charges against him shows his courage through the strength of his character and also proves his innocence. Ostensibly, all the cases instituted against him are based on political vendetta and personal grudge both of which have little to do with ground reality. There appears to be a total disregard for the basic fundamental of criminology, where the strongest reason for the commission of an offence is considered to be the “motive” behind the crime.

All these cases are subjudice in courts of law and the contents of this article are based on the information provided by the media.

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