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Musharraf Asks a Military in Transition for Help


A few weeks ago, Pervez Musharraf was released on bail for all the charges brought against him. He was a free man, and Dawn, Pakistan’s largest English language newspaper, explained why: “the boys [Pakistan’s military] really do look after their own.”

But things have rapidly changed within a few days, as charges of high treason—which potentially carry the death penalty—have been leveled against him. A confident prosecution has dispelled any misgivings that a fearful civilian leadership went too far, declaring that it has “strong evidence” against him and expects a speedy decision.

Musharraf, in response, invoked the only defense he had. “We not only forcefully reject these charges, but also view them as a vicious attempt to undermine the Pakistani military.” In an evident cry for help, Musharraf is hoping the military will come to his defense. The military, however, is somewhat busy these days.

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the current army chief, is retiring at the end of the month. He presided over a high-level meeting of military men on Wednesday, making his final rounds as Chief of Army Staff. The new army chief, who may well be the most powerful man in Pakistan, is yet to be decided. And while Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will ostensibly decide, Kayani will definitely be “weighing in” on the decision. Given the transitional period that the military is going through, and the continuing threat posed by terrorism, Musharraf might not get the protection he is hoping for.

[Pervez Musharraf photo courtesy of Shutterstock]

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