Musharraf treason inquiry report remarkable for its omissions

After much hesitation, the prosecution in retired general Pervez Musharraf’s high treason case finally submitted the ‘inquiry report’ before the special court on Wednesday, which astounded many for its omissions instead of what it contained.
Unpredictably, the report finds that Musharraf was solely responsible for imposing the 2007 emergency; those who did agree to speak to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) have also blamed the former dictator.
Soon after coming into power, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had set up a Joint Investigation Team to conduct an inquiry into the emergency and those responsible for it. The JIT’s report has till now been kept secret and was not handed over to Musharraf’s defence team till Wednesday.
Apart from Musharraf’s ‘guilt’, the report throws up many a surprise for the sceptical reader.
Amazingly, the 237 page report does not contain the statements of those who held senior government posts on November 3, 2007 including then prime minister Shaukat Aziz, the cabinet members, the four chief ministers or any of the services chiefs and corps commanders.
Instead, the report, which was put together by a team headed by additional director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Mohammad Khalid Qureshi, incorporated the statements of over 50 junior level police officials, 16 civil servants, then attorney general Malik Qayyum, Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, two staffers of the state-run Pakistan Television and the former president of the bar association of Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi bench, Taufiq Asif.
It is important to remember that the proclamation of the November 3 emergency signed by Musharraf, who was president as well as chief of army staff then, explicitly states that a state of emergency was declared after consultations with the prime minister, governors of all the four provinces, the vice chief, joint chiefs, corps commanders and the heads of the navy and air force.
But none of these people seem to have been interviewed for this inquiry report – oddly enough not even people such as Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Pervaiz Elahi (then chief minister of Punjab). These two have not only criticised Musharraf’s trial but Chaudhry Shujaat has also offered to be tried alongside Musharraf.
However, senior bureaucrats have been interviewed including, then secretary cabinet Masood Alam Rizvi, former secretary to the president Mohsin Hafeez and then secretary interior Syed Kamal Shah – they have admitted to having knowledge of November 3 emergency.
Mr Rizvi, Mr Hafeez and Mian Ajmal (a retired judge who was then serving as principal secretary law division) even admitted that the proclamations of emergency and the removal of the judges were processed through their offices. However, they denied their involvement in the proclamation of emergency, holding Musharraf responsible for the act.
In their statements, the policemen testify about whether or not the electricity and gas connections to the judges’ residences were disconnected and if the flags on the latter’s houses were removed.
Whose lapse of memory?
Interestingly, two senior members of the 2007 regime, who have been interviewed, contradict each other.
The JIT met with Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ibad and former Governor Punjab Lt-Gen Khalid Maqbool.
Ibad is asked: “Did General Pervez Musharraf consult you on this issue? When? And in which manner?”
The report records that he “recollected that perhaps in the last week of October 2007, he along with the governors of other three provinces was summoned to attend a meeting chaired by then president Gen Pervez Musharraf. In that meeting the then president informed the governors that in view of the difficult situation faced by the country, the government was contemplating to take some measures, permissible under the constitution.”
However, Gen Maqbool does not seem to remember this meeting.
According to the report, Gen Maqbool says: “Gen Pervez Musharraf’s claim that he discussed the issue with the governors is totally incorrect.”
Perhaps this contradiction is why the JIT did not include Dr Ibad’s statement in its summary of the high treason case (the short summary is where the JIT provides its overview of the issue while the bulk of the report simply reproduces the various statements it collected).
In other words, it appears that the JIT incorporated statements of only those individuals that helped strengthen their case.
In search for the facilitators While the JIT did not interview many key people, it has – towards the tail end of its lengthy report – recommended that the role of ‘various facilitators’ who helped Musharraf impose an emergency should be investigated.
The report says: “The competent authority may also take into account the role of various facilitators in the unconstitutional proclamation of emergency on November 3, 2007.”
This seems to suggest that the JIT was not asked to investigate or look into the possibility of others who may have helped Musharraf; it seems to suggest that the JIT was set up to focus on an individual.
This perception can prove harmful as it will be cited by those who allege that the government is targeting Musharraf.
Protecting their own?
The JIT also expressed its inability to access the record of the defence ministry and the General Headquarters (GHQ).
The report said: “The inquiry team made a number of attempts to obtain summary, notes and proposal etc pertaining to proclamation of emergency issued by Gen Pervez Musharraf on November 3, 2007 as Chief of Army Staff (COAS). However, despite the appointment of focal officer Anzar Rizvi by ministry of defence no such document or relevant record was provided or shown to the inquiry team.”
The FIA report also mentioned that Gen Musharraf did not cooperate with the investigation team and did not meet with the inquiry team despite being summoned twice – November 12 and November 20 – on the pretext of ‘low grade fever’.
Court proceedings
The special court headed by Justice Faisal Arab of Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday issued a notice to former president retired General Pervez Musharraf on an application filed by the prosecution team.
The application was for summoning 10 witnesses.
The prosecution team requested the court to summon FIA officials Mohammad Khalid Qureshi, Siraj Ahmed, Maqsoodul Hassan, Hussain Asghar, Najaf Kuli Mirza, Mohammad Yousaf, Khalid Rasool, deputy solicitor law ministry Taj Umer Khan, PTV staffer Talib Hussain and Kaleem Ahmed, section officer cabinet division.
The court adjourned proceedings till May 22.
Report by Malik Asad
Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2014

One Comment

  1. Syed

    What a cockeyed report on which the HIGH TREASON CASE has been formred and SPECIAL HIGH TREASON COURT ahs been set up under Special Judge imported from ARAB? Why should such jokers be allowed to waste precious time, national wealth and resources on personal vengience and let the poors die in hunger?

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