Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf did not appear before the Anti-Terrorism Court on Monday because of health problems, his lawyers said. He is accused of being involved in the assassination of tribal leader Akbar Bugti. The court ordered Musharraf to attend the next hearing, scheduled for May 19, at any cost. Voice of Russia discussed this topic with Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political scientist and military analyst.
Pervez Musharraf, charged with alleged involvement in Akbar Bugti assassination case, is in court again. What do you think the outcome of the trial will be?
The trial is still in the initial stage. Musharraf hasn’t appeared in the court and court wants him to be present there. But in the meanwhile he has applied to another superior court for permission to go abroad, to the United Arab Emirates for medical treatment and we would know in 3-4 days time whether he will be allowed to proceed abroad. If he goes abroad, then he is not appearing before the court for the killing of the tribal chief. If the superior court doesn’t allow him to leave the country, then he’ll have to face 3-4 trials that are going at this stage.
In your opinion, do you think he is really sick or he wants to leave the country while he is supposed to go to court?
He is suffering from some illness, but we don’t know whether it is such a serious illness that he should go abroad. This could be a kind of an excuse to get out of the problems that he has been facing since Nusharraf returned to Pakistan last year and initially he wanted to go abroad but the federal government of Pakistan decline permission, therefore, he is now going to a provincial high court and that high court will decide very soon whether he can leave or he will face the trial first.
Musharraf is also indicted for high treason and the involvement in the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. What are the latest developments in these trials?
That case is also pending and the charge against him is that he was a president at that time and his government didn’t provide adequate security to Benazir. That is one kind of case against him. In addition to that there are three other cases pending in different courts in Pakistan against him. So, if he can get over one case, he will still be entangled in other cases that will go on at least for a year or so.
If Musharraf is found guilty, what consequences will it have for the development of the situation in Pakistan?
It seems that he may not be convicted in that case or even the case of tribal chief because the evidence is not so far available in direct involvement. There is indirect involvement. That is what the state is pursuing at this stage. However, there is also a case of violation of constitution, and that case may get him in greater trouble. If he is convicted in any of the cases or all the cases, the problem would be that the military which has traditionally been a powerful institution in Pakistan will be very unhappy. Even at this stage, they have expressed reservations on the cases that are going on against Musharraf, especially regarding the case on the violation of the constitution.