LAHORE  - Senior PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira, who is also a former Minister for information, proposed on Tuesday that Pervez Musharraf should confess to the ‘sins’ he is being accused of, and the Parliament should forgive him.

In his personal opinion expressed in a TV programme, he said this is the best way to take the nation out of the situation it has been caught in because of this case.  He made it clear that what he said was not the PPP’s point of view. 

However, PML-N leader and Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal did not agree with the idea, stressing that the proceedings against the former military ruler should continue on the basis of state of emergency he imposed in November 2007.

Ahmed Raza Kasuri, the defence counsel of the former President-COAS, proposed the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as done by the late Nelson Mandela after being freed from the 27-year incarceration.

A private channel had organised a debate on the case against Musharraf, which was participated in by Kaira, Ahsan Iqbal, MQM leader Haider Abbas Rizvi, PTI leader Javed Hashmi and Musharraf’s lawyer Ahmad Raza Kasuri.

Ahsan Iqbal vehemently opposed the idea of allowing Musharraf to go abroad for medical treatment.

In case he was let go without facing the court, “I will not only resign as Minister but also quit politics. In that case I’ll like to sit back at home”.

He said if ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak could be brought to court on a stretcher and a Chilean dictator Pinochet on a wheelchair, there was no justification for Musharraf to stay away for the judicial proceedings against him.

Kaira was also opposed to the suggestion that the former President should be allowed to go abroad.

PTI leader Javed Hashmi said it would be wrong to assume that Musharraf would not go abroad. In Pakistan, he said, law was applicable only to the poor.

Asked whether Musharraf should be tried for his Nov 3 act or October 12, 1999 military intervention, Ahsan Iqbal said Nov 3 action provided a better justification as in that case nobody would be in a position to accuse the PML-N government of settling scores with the former President.

However, if he was tried for his October 12, 1999 intervention, many would get an excuse to allege that the PML-N leaders were avenging the overthrow of their government, he said.

MQM leader Haider Abbas Rizvi said his party was in favour of trying all military dictators.

However, he said, Musharraf should not be singled out as ‘selective justice is no justice’.

Rizvi said so far Musharraf was only an ‘accused’ and there would be nothing wrong if he went abroad for treatment.  To substantiate his argument, he said, in the past even the ‘convicts’ were allowed to go abroad under agreements. This was an obvious reference to Mian Nawaz Sharif, who was a convict and was pardoned to enable him to go to Saudi Arabia. 

Replying to a question, Kaira said the PPP government did not put Musharraf on trial because it had signed an agreement with him (the National Reconciliation Ordinance) that paved the way for the restoration of democracy in the country.

It was after that agreement that a Constitutional amendment was brought about which among other things annulled ban on a political leader to become Prime Minister for a third time.

Kasuri said while replying to a question that on Wednesday (today) a lawyer of the defence team would tell the three-member special court to adjourn proceedings against Musharraf as the Supreme Court was hearing a review petition against the very order on the basis of which the case had been instituted.

Hashmi said although he was in favour of trying Musharraf for his Oct 12 act as well, the option was no longer available as the Parliament had indemnified the intervention.

Kasuri said all aiders, abettors and collaborators of Musharraf should also be put on trial.

Some doctors said in the programme that best medical treatment could be given to Musharraf in Pakistan as many competent cardiologists are available.