January 4, 2014


[Off-the record conservation with well-informed officials and former military generals revealed that Musharraf's treason trial has sent shocking waves across Pakistan's powerful military that is fond of staging coup, and powerful generals are looking  for some middle way to settle the dispute.]

By Qaswar Abbas 

Former Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf.
Call it irony of fate or misfortune, the retired General who forced  the then democratically elected Prime Minister to go in exile as a result of secret deal in 1999, is waiting to strike a similar deal but this time to save his skin, speculations doing the rounds in Pakistani federal capital Islamabad suggested on Saturday.

Incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whom the retired general Pervez Musharraf had got arrested after toppling his democratically elected government as a result of a bloodless military coup in 1999, is the man who can save generals' skin.

Threatened by the court and abandoned by the powerful Pakistan army, former military ruler Pervez Musharraf finally took refuge in Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology that is situated merely at a distance of five minutes drive from headquarter Rawalpindi wherein he  ruled Pakistan for more than nine years.

While the local and international media has widely reported that the former general who engineered the Kargil war and other misadventures during his stint as army chief, had suffered a severe heart attack on Thursday and was taken to military run hospital. However, doctors say otherwise.

A senior doctor told India Today on Saturday on condition of anonymity that the former military chief who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008 as a godfather, had not suffered a heart attack, rather felt pain in his chest probably due to nervousness and fear of something.

" The former General had undergone thorough medical checkup at hospital. Doctors did not notice any symptoms of heart attack and results of various tests endorsed it later on," said a doctor associated with Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology.

It was unclear how long the retired general who enjoys great degree of hater among the masses in Pakistan probably for allowing attacks on Red Mosque in Islamabad and killings of Nawab Akbar Bugti, a Baloch nationalist, during his stint as military ruler, would stay in hospital.

Endorsing the report of sources, General  Azhar Kiyani, a noted Pakistani heart surgeon and former commandant of Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology, told local media that reports of tests suggested that general Musharraf was hale and hearty.

It all started on Thursday when former general left his sprawling villa in the morning to appear before a special court set up in Islamabad, the federal capital, to hear the treason charges against him. Earlier, Musharraf had failed to appear before the court twice due to life threats. It was then, the court threated him to issue his arrest warrants in case if he did not appear before the court on Thursday January 1, 2014.

The retired general who has been under the impression that powerful Pakistan Army would come to rescue him anyway, left his house in the morning on Thursday to appear before the court.

However, he got nervous and lost temperament while his motorcade was on the way to court, soon after he realized that the powerful institution which he lead for years seems to have finally abandoned him. Insiders say, Musharraf complained about pain in chest and lye flat on the seat.

Utterly alarmed by the situation, the chief of Musharraf's private security team diverted the convoy to military-run hospital where the General was immediately admitted in the Intensive Care Unit of military run hospital.

According to legal counsel of Pervez Musharraf, a team of doctors is looking after the retired General in army-run hospital since then. However, hospital administration has so for refrained from issuing any statement regarding his condition.  His wife and daughter immediately rushed to hospital and reportedly accompanying Musharraf in hospital while, no one else, is allowed to meet him.

Musharraf's illness has got mixed response from politicians from across Pakistan. Bilawal Bhutto, Chairperson of Pakistan People's Party termed Pervez Musharraf as a coward and expressed his concern that the former general might be doing some drama to escape treason trial.

" I cant believe this coward ever wore the uniform of our brave courageous armed forces, disgrace,"  Bilawal tweeted.

Off-the record conservation with well-informed officials and former military generals revealed that Musharraf's treason trial has sent shocking waves across Pakistan's powerful military that is fond of staging coup, and powerful generals are looking  for some middle way to settle the dispute.

"Look gentleman, Musharraf's trial has meant a lot for Pakistan's army. Powerful generals my be silent apparently, but, during their private meetings they have shown uneasiness over Musharraf's trial that may disgrace the army as an institution .  They would do something to to save army from disgrace. Sending Musharraf abroad, may be a best option," a well informed official sources remarked when ask to comment.

On the other hand, said a close aid of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, told India Today on Saturday that he wants the court to convict Musharraf at any cost. However, can, forgive him later on.

" Nawaz Sharif wants court to convict Musharraf, so, that he may let the world show that he was the politician who initiated treason trial of a former general and made his case an example for rest of army," said a close confidant of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.  However, Sharif has so for refrained from commenting on the issue.

Political analyst Hassan Kamal says stakes are very high with regard to the Musharraf trial. if the case proceeds it is likely that the former president would be convicted.

" In such circumstances the political advantage that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would derive would be enormous. As the man who convicted the former army chief and president, Nawaz Sharif would become an extremely powerful entity. In fact he would become virtually invincible," Hassan Kamal says.

It is important to mention here that Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain last week said he will decide according to the law of land in case if former military ruler begged to be pardoned.

Islamabad was abuzz with the news on Saturday that former military chief may leave abroad after striking a deal with the Nawaz Sharif, the incumbent Prime minister of Pakistan whom Musharraf had forced to leave country in October 1999 after toppling his democratically elected government as a result of bloodless coup.

After thirteen and half years later, the retired  General is seemingly looking for the similar deal to save his skin, said many.

Local media speculated on Saturday that Musharraf can leave Pakistan on medical ground any time. However, India Today got confirm on Saturday ( at 11:25 AM) that Musharraf's name still exist on Exit Control List. Musharraf needs to get his name remove from ECL to fly abroad.

Ahmed Raza Kasoori, Musharraf's counsel reiterated on Saturday that only doctors can decide if the former general needs treatment abroad.

"Musharraf can only fly abroad in case if doctors recommend it. Even, court is bound to follow doctors advise," Kasoori told India Today.