I lost count of how many times someone emailed me a link to a news report about Sharifuddin Pirzada, the lawyer who is leading Gen Musharraf’s defence team. The report was originally written by AFP, a French media group, but it has spread like fire since, appearing in countless newspapers both in Pakistan and internationally. The explanation that Pirzada is ‘just doing his job’ is perfectly valid – that is not my issue. My issue is why this explanation is only given for lawyers who defend dictators?
Missing his second court date in two days, former dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf has termed the accusations against him as ‘politically motivated‘. In a certain way, they are – and should be – politically motivated: A demonstration that politically ambitious officers cannot undermine democratic rule, abrogate the constitution, and usurp power. Gen Musharraf is accused of doing each of these, and with the preponderance of evidence behind these accusations, a trial is certainly warranted. In another way, Musharraf’s insinuation is correct – Of everyone who was involved in these crimes, why is he being singled out for trial? The question we should be asking is not whether or not it is fair to try Musharraf. There can be no doubt that the answer to that question is yes. The question we should be asking is why there aren’t more people being tried with him.
The latest drone attack is noteworthy for a few reasons. First, it took place in Khyber Pakhtunkwa. As far as I remember, every other drone strike till date has taken place in FATA where it was always explained that there was no other way to reach terrorists due to the difficult landscape. The geographical expansion of drone strikes, even if it is an anomaly, is important though. We know that the CIA informs the ISI every month of the areas they intend to strike, so the question must be asked whether the military knew that the American ‘flight boxes’ had been expanded and chose to do nothing to stop it, or whether the military was once again caught sleeping as it was when American helicopters flew into Abbottabad?
While publicly decrying drone attacks as a violation of sovereignty, Pakistan was secretly cooperating with America’s drone program according to a new report by Greg Miller and Bob Woodward for The Washington Post on Thursday. According to the report, Top Secret documents from the US and Pakistan governments reveal a long and close cooperation between the two countries on the controversial drone program. While much of the Pakistani media has been slow to comment on the details of the report, hyper-nationalists on social media quickly attempted to cast the blame on the civilians who they claimed had manipulated the military and gone against their will. A brief refresher on the history of military and civilian relations, however, shows just how ridiculous an excuse this is.
It’s obvious that Mian Nawaz learned a lot from his last term as Prime Minister, but there’s one place where he seems to have a blind spot, and this blogger can’t help but wonder if he isn’t feeling a certain sense of deja vu. The place I am speaking of, of course, is none other than Kashmir, that idyllic land that ultimately led to the premature downfall of his last government.