Four former generals face the dock

LAHORE - In a rare coincidence four former generals are facing serious charges these days, and police investigations or judicial proceedings against them may implicate some more military or political figures in the times ahead. And the likely conviction of some of them may have ramifications for the already delicate civil-military relationship.
The most important case is against former president-COAS Gen Pervez Musharraf, proceedings whereof have already been started with the formation of a three-judge special court. He will be the first former army chief to stand in the dock on high treason charge, which carries capital punishment or life sentence.
For the time being nobody is in a position to say how long the special court would take to complete the proceedings and give its judgment.
In case Gen Musharraf’s plea that he had “consulted” all relevant military and political leaders before deciding to impose emergency on November 3, 2007, is accepted by the special court, even Gen Kayani may have to face action as he was holding an important position at the time. Similarly the then corps commanders may have to face trial. The then prime minister Shaukat Aziz may also have to answer questions about his role.
At present, while the government is trying to single out Gen Musharraf for action, legal advisers of the former president-COAS are doing their best to establish that their boss was not alone in whatever he did on the day. The strategy to involve more people in the case may be aimed at making it difficult for the court to sentence the heavyweights.
Former COAS Gen Mirza Aslam Beg and ex-ISI chief Gen Asad Durrani are allegedly involved in distribution of funds among political leaders to defeat the PPP in the 1990 elections. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and a number of other political leaders are also accused of having received the “booty”.
The Supreme Court had ordered the FIA last year to investigate the matter. But the then PPP-led coalition shelved the matter, saying they will not like Mr Sharif (who was then in the opposition) to be dragged by the FIA.
Now the matter has been revived by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, although few believe that the FIA will dare establish any charge against the incumbent prime minister.
However, the same could not be said of Gen Beg or Gen Durrani.
Defence Secretary Lt-Gen Asif Yasin Malik faces contempt of court charge. He was directed by the Supreme Court to hold Cantonment Boards elections, but Gen Malik failed to do so.
He tendered apology but the court did not accept it.
Now the court will start proceedings against him on the next hearing.

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