BY ALI NAQVI –
Former dictator and usurper of power, General retired Pervez Musharraf has been sentenced to death by a special court in a historic decision. The development has caused an uproar on local, international and social media. It is the first time in the history of Pakistan that the Army Chief, retired or otherwise, is sentenced to death.
There is no doubt that the court decision is of paramount importance. One way of looking at this is that sentencing a general who is breathing his last and somebody who is not even in the country is of little or no consequence. One could also view this as a triumph of our independent judicial system and the first victory for the fragile democracy.
General retired Pervez Musharraf’s death sentence is just a milestone in the epic run of history. There may not going to be immediate fallouts but in the longer run this event could be seen as the defining moment in the civil-military struggle for power.
The problem with history is that its significance cannot be measured while it’s still being created. When we look back in time and leaf through the pages of history we sometimes go through decades in a matter of a few pages. In the history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire Rome did not fell in day just as they say Rome was not built in day. Sometimes what we consider a singular event in world history takes not years but decades to materialize.
History is the study of macrocosm and it’s not bothered with the trivialities of the microcosmic regularities. The sentence of General retired Pervez Musharraf is of macrocosmic proportion. It can be seen as one major incident in the long chain of events marking the decline and fall of the military rule in Pakistan.
Pakistan Army by far is the most organized and well-disciplined institution in Pakistan. When institutions are that strong, individuals are never given undue importance. Nobody is above the law. The discipline of the Army does not allow its men to engage in any kind of political activity but unfortunately this has been the weakness of the institution since the creation of Pakistan.
General retired Pervez Musharraf may not be hanged. He is too frail to come to Pakistan and too arrogant to face the courts but the decision is not about the physical punishment rather the historical and symbolic significance. It is going to have a positive impact on the military itself, making it mindful of its oath as the protectors and defenders of the sovereignty of Pakistan.