Monday, August 11, 2008

Musharraf's Impeachment and Global Criminality

Pakistan's ruling coalition has finally gathered the courage to impeach Pervez Musharraf who assumed and retained power as the Army Chief for over eight years in violation of the constitution. Musharraf's hold on power collapsed when he took off his military uniform and his political cronies lost the 2008 general elections. Like previous military generals, Musharraf too had a profound messianic complex to single-handedly save Pakistan from real and imagined enemies. Despite its great human and natural resources, Pakistan has remained a Third World country, partly because its civil and military leaders are narcissistic to the extent that they see law as a barrier to their self-assessed greatness to run complex affairs of the state.

Musharraf will be fighting impeachment because he fears that his criminality would possibly take him to the gallows. In addition to subverting the constitution more than once, Musharraf has engaged in a series of serious crimes that no decent nation would forget or forgive. As an unaccountable army man, Musharraf imprisoned senior members of the judiciary and denied them salaries and basic necessities of life. This profound disrespect for law also contributed to the disappearance of hundreds of Pakistani citizens. In collusion with foreign intelligence agencies, Musharraf's men abducted men, women, and children and kept them incommunicado for years. Many were tortured. The "war on terror" mantra was so loud that nobody was willing to hear cries of the innocent and the vulnerable.

The so-called war on terror unleashed an era of global criminality, in which many rulers became as lawless as were the terrorists. In this era, Pervez Musharraf stands shoulder to shoulder with other world-class criminals who resorted to blatant lawlessness and used the massive machinery of the state to detain, torture, and kill the innocent along with the guilty. Musharraf's impeachment and the exposure of his criminality would be the essential first step to begin a process of accountability in nations small and large.