Islamabad: The fissures in the Pakistani establishment are deepening with Imran Khan’s government lashing out in public at the judiciary on behalf of the military.
The federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Friday took on the judiciary over the death sentence awarded to former Army chief and president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf by a special court in a high treason case for imposing emergency and overriding the judicial system in Pakistan.
In a series of tweets, Chaudhry said the Army was being “targeted under a specific strategy” to “divide and weaken it”.
“This is not an individual matter of Pervez Musharraf’s; the Pakistan Army was targetted with a specific strategy. First the army and ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) were involved in the (Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan) sit-in case, then the Army chief’s extension was made controversial and now a popular former army chief has been humiliated,” he said, while trying to draw correlation between the different political episodes that hit the South Asian nation in the last few years.
“The sequence of events is not a judicial or legal matter anymore, it is more than that. If the institution of the army is divided or weakened, then it will not be possible to save (the country) from anarchy,” he said.
In a strong defence of the Army, Chaudhry said: “Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and the current Army set-up has stood by democratic institutions but this support should not be considered as a weakness.”
Meanwhile, after the special court released its detailed judgement in which it ordered dragging and hanging of Musharraf’s corpse, the government has slammed the verdict and decided to file a reference against Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).
Justice Seth headed the three-judge special court, which sentenced the former military ruler to death on Tuesday, reports Dawn news.
Both the government and the Army on Thursday expressed “anger” over ‘paragraph 66’ of the detailed judgement and termed it “unlawful”, “inhuman” and “unconstitutional”.
Para 66 of the verdict read: “We direct the law enforcement agencies to strive their level best to apprehend the fugitive/convict (Musharraf) and to ensure that the punishment is inflicted as per law and if found dead, his corpse be dragged to the D-Chowk (in front of the Parliament House), Islamabad, Pakistan, and be hanged for three days.”
Following this, the government decided to move the SJC and file an appeal against the verdict during a meeting of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s strategic committee, chaired by Imran Khan after his telephonic conversation with Gen Bajwa.
The government’s decision was revealed by Law Minister Farogh Naseem, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan and SAPM on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar at a joint press conference on Thursday evening.
Terming the verdict “unprecedented and despicable”, Naseem said: “This is an attempt to take Pakistan into dark ages.”
He added that the federal government would plead before the SJC that the PHC chief justice was “mentally unfit” and “incompetent” and, therefore, he should be restrained from giving important decisions as head of the high court or judge of the Supreme Court.
Earlier, military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, said: “Today’s verdict, especially the words used in it, is against humanity, religion, culture and our values.”