General Musharraf has acted like a general – sensing the danger, he resorted to making a definitive strike. I call it ‘definitive’ not because I think it is the final blow and the tables have been turned and all dangers to Musharraf and his authority conclusively averted, but simply because the blow he has dealt is something that seals things tight in the state of a deadlock. Against the use of brute force only greater brute force can strike and win quickly enough. In this case the greatest force is the military might, which is what General Musharraf has at his command. So, no greater force is available. Now, the only force greater than brute force can be moral force, which is like a storm that first gathers momentum, builds itself and then dashes on. This too is not likely given the fact that if the power is somehow wrenched off Musharraf’s hands – let’s assume – what other hands are available to put it into. Pakistani politicians have made it tough for the electorate to decide in favour of democracy. The Pakistani masses see the rule of Musharraf as a rule clear of political muck and corruption. Things look relatively rosy under Musharraf’s rule. That’s how it appears to be from the outside.
Musharraf won the elections but he doesn’t seem to be a fish that is sure of the waters of democratic process. We may say that he is acting on account of self-interest. I think self-interest would still be there even if it were Benazir Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif or Imran Khan or anyone else. Self-interest is not a political problem, it is human nature. Corrupt motives, however, need to be seen in a dimmer light. And politicians in general have given no hope to Pakistani masses.
Seen from a purely legal angle, the move is certainly unconstitutional and the justification of preventing Pakistan from ‘committing suicide’ like a jilted lover fails to convince unless of course getting rid of Musharraf is equated with committing suicide.
Apparently, Musharraf saw the Supreme Court turning against him and hence took an extraordinary step to avert extraordinary dangers. Among the first steps he took was to sack Chief Justice Iftikhaar, which was expected considering the kind of beating Musharraf has to take when he tried sacking the Chief Justice the last time. It is more of an act of vengeance than a political manoeuver.