Friday, November 24, 2006

Traitors Within Our Midst?

Yesterday’s Dawn reports that:
[Quetta] police have registered a treason case against Nawabzada Jamil Bugti, son of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, for speaking against the army and the government in his press conference last month.
If ‘speaking against the army and the government’ is indeed a crime then Quetta police better had start registering millions of ‘treason’ cases against the majority of people - excepting, of course, the moneyed pro-Musharraf elite- in at least three, if not four, provinces that have constituted Pakistan since 1971. (Just by the by, didn’t our erstwhile Bengal province secede from us because they were judged by Islamabad to be ‘traitors’ as well?)

It is time perhaps to briefly examine the law of treason in Pakistan.
Article 6 of the 1973 Constitution states:

1) Any person who abrogates or attempts or conspires to abrogate, subverts or attempts or conspires to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.
(2) Any person aiding or abetting the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.

Having read the bit about ‘abrogating the constitution…by use of force’, not surprisingly two names instantly pop up in my mind: Zia-ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf, the two army generals who abrogated the 1973 constitution by use of overwhelming military force.

Then there are those who attempt to or conspire to abrogate the constitution by force; the only example that I can think of is Major General Zahirul Islam Abbasi, who in 1995 planned to assassinate the prime minister, the chief of army staff, senior cabinet ministers and all the corps commanders and proclaim the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in Pakistan.

And one must not forget those who conspired to subvert the Constitution by…show of force. Recently, the former minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan - who had close connections with the GHQ during the 1990s - revealed on TV that every army chief (with the exception of Karamat and Kakar) vigorously involved himself in subverting the constitutional authority of elected civilian governments.

Were any of these military gentlemen ever charged with the crime of treason? Of course not, perish the thought - and pity our judiciary.

Instead, those who have been charged of the crime of treason have, so far, all been civilians – these include Nawaz Sharif and Javed Hashmi.

How our 'Amir ul Momineen' subverted the constitution, while using his constitutionally acquired powers to sack his COAS Musharraf, is beyond me. Even the judge, who convicted the deposed PM of hijacking the commercial airline carrying Musharraf, seemed to have baulked at convicting him for treason.

And all Javed Hashmi seemed to have done was to flash around an anti-Musharraf letter purportedly written on Army GHQ letterhead in the National Assembly cafeteria. Now how could this possibly deemed to be ‘an attempt to subvert the constitution by…unconstitutional means'? Not according to my sense of logic, but the judge, who tried Hashmi in a court set up in Rawalpindi jail, convicted him on the charge and sentenced him to 23 years of imprisonment.


Now coming back to Jamil Bugti.

The man’s father, an 80 year-old citizen of Pakistan, was killed ostensibly on Musharraf’s instructions without any recourse to legal process. Given the circumstances, I doubt if Jamil Bugti would have any kind things to say about the army or the government. And yet the police have charged him with treason for ‘speaking against the army and the government in his press conference last month’.

I guess wonders will never cease.


Apropos to the Jamil Bugti story, it seem that members of the Balochistan police will be soon be busy chappies.

Some ten months ago, on 3 February this year, DCO Dera Bugti Abdul Samad Lasi’s house in Hub suffered a bomb blast. The day after the event

Nation reported ‘that the blast damaged a wall and his kitchen but caused no injuries’.

After a lapse of all this time today’s
newspapers report that Lasi has suddenly woken up to the fact that the Khan of Kalat Suleman Daud Ahmedzai, Balochistan Assembly Deputy Speaker Aslam Bhotani and Balochistan National Party Lasbella President Wazir Khan Rind were culprits in the explosion.

Of course it has probably nothing to do with the fact that the Khan, Aslam Bhotani and Wazir Rind are vehemently anti-Musharraf these days.

Interestingly, Lasi has stated that he ‘may name more suspects in the case’. So, there can many more Baloch notables soon on the list. All I can say is: Watch out you anti-Musharraf lot in Balochistan!

Interestingly, it was reported last month that the former DCO of Dera Bugti - who, a reader informs me, got his initial post by sifarish, bypassing Provincial Govt requirements for job advertisement and competitive examination by Balochistan Public Service Commission and also failed to pass departmental examinations for promotion beyond his BS-17 grade - was
inducted in the Foreign Service of Pakistan for consequent posting abroad. No doubt having proved his diplomatic skills in Dera Bugti a great future lies ahead of him abroad.


Anonymous said...

Good job, Onlooker. Lasi was recently promoted to BS-18 precisely because that would make him eligible for transfer elsewhere on deputation- altough even with the promotion it requires a sleight of hand as PCS officers are expected to serve only in their native provinces. The Chief Secretary Balochistan tried to stand up to powers-that-be for abt a year or more and kept deferring his promotion case but that was the best he could do. Eventually, the relevant rules were set aside. Although it was done for the sole purpose of promoting him, many other Sifarishis got a free ride on Lasi Express. Conversely promotions of many competent officers have been delayed. The joke going around in the local bureaucracy is that these Sifarishis were promotd because they had acquired the special privilege of being "senior citizens" on account of their length of service :) Anyway, that is a mere sideshow to larger circus being staged out in Balochistan.

Anonymous said...

Even the Musharraf appointed CM of Balochistan, Jam Yusuf, appears to hold Abdul Samad Lasi in contempt.

According to Dawn (25/11/06), Jam Yusuf, commenting on Lasi involving the Khan of Kalat and Mr Bhootani in the Hub bomb explosion said that Lasi was a man "capable of doing anything."

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