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President Pervez Musharraf is not welcome any more in any government function

A first ever non-functional President in Pakistan?


By —— Bio and Archives--August 8, 2008

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imageIslamabad August 8, 2008-The Ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League (N) leaders have decided to make new history. President Pervez Musharraf is not welcome any more in any government function. The Ruling Coalition wants him to become the first ever non-functional President in the history of Pakistan. Verbal orders have been issued to all the federal government departments and also to the four provincial governments not to invite the President of Pakistan for the opening of any ceremony.

All the four provincial assemblies will pass resolutions against the President next week and no chief minister will welcome him in any provincial capital. Last year Musharraf declared Ifikhar Muhammad Chaudhry a non-functional Chief Justice of Pakistan and this year he is becoming a non-functional President of Pakistan. Some close friends have already advised Musharraf to step down quietly but he is still confident that his hand-picked Army Chief,  General Ashfaq Pervez Kyani will rescue him.             

According to the constitution of Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf is still more powerful than the Prime Minister and the Parliament.  The President is the supreme commander of the Armed forces. The President can dissolve the national assembly with the help of the Army anytime. He also has the power to impose governor rule in any province.  PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif think that President Musharraf is not in a position to suspend the government with the help of the Pakistan Army. They are sure that the Army is already conducting military operations in Baluchistan and in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. If the Army will help Musharraf against the newly elected democratic government,  then people in the Sindh and Punjab province could also come out on the roads and the Army will be in a big trouble.         

Article 41 of the constitution says that “there shall be a President of Pakistan who shall be the head of State and shall represent the unity of the Republic”. If the President of Pakistan will become non-functional and if the duly elected chief ministers of four units of the federation will not welcome him,  then it will be very difficult for Musharraf to claim that he represents the unity of Pakistan.  The Ruling Coalition has decided to call the national assembly meeting to initiate the impeachment process against Musharraf next week.  The Speaker of the national assembly will hold a debate in the joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament on the impeachment resolution.  According to article 47 of the constitution, two thirds of the members of the total number of both houses must declare that the President is unfit to hold his office due to incapacity, or he is guilty of violating the constitution or he is involved in gross misconduct. Musharraf will face the first ever impeachment motion in the history of Pakistan.                                         

Highly placed sources in the Ruling Coalition claimed that a comprehensive and lethal charge sheet against President Musharraf is already in the making.  This charge sheet may open many new Pandora boxes. The joint meeting of the two houses of the Parliament will try to pass a resolution against a person who abrogated the constitution of Pakistan—not once but twice (October 12th, 1999 and November 3rd,  2007),who furthermore arrested one elected Prime Minister in 1999 and then arrested the Chief Justice of Pakistan on March 9th, 2007. The charge sheet will say that according to article 56 of the constitution, the President was bound to address both houses of the Parliament at the commencement of the first session of the national assembly after new general election, but that he never performed his constitutional obligations. The charge sheet will accuse President Musharraf for conspiring against the sitting elected government with the help of opposition party Pakistan Muslim League (Q).  Ruling Coalition members will also quote from his memoir, In the line of Fire during the debate and say that as the Army Chief and Head of State, Musharraf created PML-Q on the advice of his close aide Tariq Aziz in 2002,  which was a clear violation of the constitution as well as Army rules.                                                                           

PML-N members will demand to set up an independent inquiry commission against Musharraf to investigate the Kargil episode. According to the sources in the Ruling Coalition, Musharraf will have a safe exit if he resigns from the President’s office within the next two days.  If the impeachment motion is passed by the Parliament,  then it will be difficult for the government to provide him safe exit because many in Pakistan want him to answer in a court of law for breaking the constitution, for the operation in the Red Mosque last year and for the killing of innocents in Baluchistan and tribal areas.

Just weeks ago,  US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher advised Pakistani politicians that they should stop squabbling about President Musharraf and focus on extremism, food shortage and the power crisis. He said that Musharraf was not a problem in Pakistan but now the Ruling Coalition has given him a message that Musharraf is still a problem for them. Coalition leaders are claiming off the record that the Bush administration has finally discarded Musharraf and nobody from Washington will come and rescue their most trusted friend in Pakistan.

One federal minister of the Ruling Coalition has cautioned his leadership about the possible dangers in this new game. The said minister is of the view that both the Ruling Coalition and President Musharraf are playing a very risky game. The numbers are very important in this game. Coalition partners need 295 votes out of 442 to impeach President Musharraf.  They claim to have the support of 305 members.  If Musharraf can convince Pir Pagara of PML-Functional to hold his Party’s 6 votes and some dissidents in PPP,  led by Makhdoom Amin Fahim decide to abstain,  then coalition partners will be in big trouble.  Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif were very relaxed yesterday and they claim to their colleagues that they will ultimately win the support of 350 members.  Both camps are very confident—but there is one difference. One camp is led by a functional federal government having the support of four provincial governments. The other camp is led by a virtually non-functional President who is looking towards an Army which is claiming now to be neutral and no longer interested in politics. If the Army does not come to the rescue its supreme commander,  then Musharraf will become a “lesson” in the history of Pakistan.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan TV Show Discusses Ruling Alliance’s Intention to Impeach Musharraf

Karachi Geo News television in Urdu at 1400 gmt on 6 August carries live regularly scheduled “Capital Talk” program relayed from channel’s Islamabad studio. Prominent Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir is host of the popular talk show in Pakistan; Words within double slant lines are in English

Guests: Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif, President Pervez Musharraf’s lawyer; Ansar Abbasi, analyst and editor investigation of English daily The News; Maulana Nurul Haq Qadri, member of National Assembly from Federally Administered Tribal Areas, who joins the discussion via telephone line

Discussion on future of President Pervez Musharraf

Hamid Mir begins the discussion by saying President Pervez Musharraf has been in power for over 8 years, but now his “impeachment” is being talked about. Mir adds: Pakistan People’s Party [PPP] and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Sharif [PML-N] along with their allied parties are engaged in clarifying a strategy needed for Musharraf’s impeachment. Mir says: question is whether Musharraf’s impeachment is possible, or whether Musharraf would again be saved due to “internal difference” in the ruling alliance.

Mir notes that Saif met President Musharraf today. Mir asks Saif: how was Musharraf’s morale. Saif says: Musharraf’s morale is “very high” because everybody knows that all this talk about his impeachment is a “//soapy drama//”. Saif: there will be no impeachment because neither the impeachment is possible, nor who are talking about impeachment have the capacity to initiate an impeachment process. Continuing, Saif says: basically it is a soap opera to divert attention from government’s “incompetence” and “weaknesses” to address the national issues.

Mir says there have been “conflicting” reports about Musharraf’s visit to China [to attend Beijing Olympics]. Mir asks Saif whether he could confirm whether Musharraf is going to China or not. Saif says: according to his information, Musharraf is not going to China not because he is afraid of impeachment, but because of the present situation in the country. When Mir asks Saif what is his advice to Musarraf, Saif says he would tell Musharraf to hold his ground as the country needs a strong leadership and he should not be afraid of “monkeys equipped with razorblades” who think that they can harm others with their “razorblades,” but are, in fact, slashing their own throats.

Mir says Saif looks “very confident” and he is describing those who are preparing for Musharraf’s impeachment as monkeys. Mir asks Ansari to comment on Saif’s comments. Ansari says in spite of his “thousands //reservations//” about the present government’s policies and in spite of its “//ineffectiveness//” and “//indecisiveness//,” Saif’s description of elected representatives as monkeys with razorblades tantamount to “contempt of people’s //mandate//.” Ansari adds: Saif is supporting a person on whose order not only “girl child” were killed, but copies of holy Koran were burnt in the Red Mosque operation. When Mir asks what are the main charges on which Musharraf could be impeached, Ansari says: Musharraf’s weakest point is his “//second martial law//” [state of emergency enacted on 2 November 1977], which is yet to be indemnified by parliament, and other charges could be the Red Mosque operation and his admissions in his book Line of Fire which have worked against the country. Continuing, Ansari says Musharraf as a president should be a nonpartisan figure, but at present he is only representing Pakistan Muslim League-Qaide Azam [PML-Q] and he is “conspiring” against the present government with the help of PML-Q.


Saif says he has not committed contempt of people’s mandate as alleged by Ansari. Saif adds: the contempt of people’s mandate has, in fact, been committed by those who received the mandate but have done nothing in last 4 months to address people’s problems. About Ansari’s charge-sheet against Musharraf, Saif says: constitutionally the president can only be impeached if he has taken any unconstitutional or illegal step and the Supreme Court in various decisions have justified all of Musharraf’s steps, whether it is October 1999 step [of overthrowing Nawaz Sharif government] or November 2007 step [enacting state of emergency]. When Mir points out that the ruling alliance is confident that it has the required numbers in parliament to impeach Musharraf, Saif says according to his information, the ruling alliance does not have the required numbers as PML-Q, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and even some parties in the coalition government are not in favour of Musharraf’s impeachment.

Commenting on Saif’s claim that the president could be impeached only if he has violated law and Constitution, Ansari says: Musharraf handed over “hundreds” of persons, including Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, [currently being tried in US for trying to kill American Army officers], “//in the violation of the law of the land//.” Ansari says: Siddiqui was not extradited through proper extradition treaty. Ansari alleges that Saif is asking Musharraf to hold on to his ground just to insure that his employment [as Musharraf’s lawyer] continues and to insure his appointment as minister in any future military government. Continuing, Ansari says Saif should not give such advice to Musharraf, which tantamount to “treachery” with the country.

Saif says the government should produce evidence for charges it is levelling against Musharraf and it should also establish fact- finding commissions on incidents like Red Mosque to find out the truth.

Mir says the ruling alliance has 257 seats in National Assembly and it has 47 seats in Senate, which totals 305 and it only needs 295 [half of total seats in National Assembly and Senate] for Musharraf’s impeachment. Mir says it means that the government has required strength to impeach president. Saif intervenes to say that Mir is including independent members from Federally Administered Tribal Areas [FATA] as government’s supporters. Mir says FATA has 27 members in National Assembly and Senate and they have told Zardari that they would support government efforts to remove Musharraf, only if military operation in Swat is stopped.

Mir establishes telephonic contact with Nurul Haq Qadri, member of National Assembly from FATA, and asks him what issues he raised at his meeting with Asif Ali Zardari today. Qadri says: issues facing the country, including the situation in Tribal areas, were discussed and FATA members’ cooperation regarding impeachment of Musharraf also came under discussion. When Mir asks whether he assured Zardari that FATA members would support the impeachment motion, Qadri says: the Pakistan People’s Party [PPP] and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Sharif [PML-N] are the main players and if they agree on something, FATA members, who could only play the second fiddle, would go along with it. When Mir pointedly asks whether FATA members would support the impeachment motion or not, Qadri says: if Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif come together and display agreement on the issue, the FATA members would support them. When Mir asks whether all 27 FATA members are on board on the issue of impeachment of Musharraf, Qadri says: it appears so and, God willing, all FATA members would support the impeachment. Mir asks whether Musharraf’s impeachment would provide some relief to people in tribal areas. Sidestepping the question, Qadri says he suggested to Zardari that a jirga [delegation] should meet Musharraf to convey a message that except for some parties, all major parties and people of the country want him to leave as he has already been in power for more than 8 years and he has not achieved any “notable success” in addressing the national issues and that is why he should make a “graceful” exit in “peaceful atmosphere.” Qadri concludes: all problems in FATA today are the creation of President Musharraf.

Mir asks Saif whether Musharraf would resign if a parliamentary delegation meets him as suggested by Qadri and requests him to resign. Saif says: Musharraf is an elected president and he should continue in office until his tenure is completed. Mir asks whether Musharraf realizes that according to a survey by International Republican Institute [IRI], his popularity graph has declined very steeply. Saif says: IRI should worry more about George Bush’s graph than Musharraf’s graph.

Ansari says November 2007 step of enacting state of emergency has to be validated in parliament and this issue is like “Damocles’ sword” hanging over Musharraf’s head and a case of “//high treason// ” could be made against him.

Mir notes that Attorney General Malik Mohammad Qayyum met Musharraf today and told him that he should not resign because the government would not be able to impeach him. Mir wonders how Musharraf could be impeached when the attorney general of sitting government is with him.

The discussion then revolves around the aim of presidential notification issued today to restore 8 judges of Sindh high court [who were suspended after enactment of emergency for taking oath under Provisional Constitution Order], with retired Justice Wajiuddin, who joins the discussion briefly via telephone line at this stage, saying the move is to “divide” the lawyers movement.

Mir says the government is preparing a charge-sheet against Musharraf. Mir asks Saif whether Musharraf is also preparing a charge-sheet against government. Saif says: Musharraf has no need to do so as people themselves are preparing a charge-sheet against the government.

Mir asks whether Musharraf should “morally” resign if the PPP and the PML-N come to an agreement to file an impeachment motion against him in the parliament.

Saif says: Musharraf should not resign and should confront the government for what it has done to the country in last 4 months. Saif says: if Musharraf leaves now, the government would sink the country’s boat as the PPP and the PML-N are only pursuing their personal and party interests and not national interests and that is why it is very necessary for Musharraf to continue in office to keep check on these parties.

Ansari says if Musharraf had any “//morality//” left in him, he would have resigned a long ago. Ansari says: there is no link between morality and Musharraf’s personality.

Originally published by Geo TV, Karachi, in Urdu 1400 06 Aug 08.



Hamid Mir -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Hamid Mir is the Executive Editor of Geo TV in Islamabad and he has also interviewed Osama bin Laden, Tony Blair, Condoleezza Rice, General Pervaiz Musharraf, Hamid Karzai, L K Advani and other international leaders.


Older articles by Hamid Mir

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