The Senate on Wednesday saw a ‘war of words’ over ailing former president Pervez Musharraf’s return to Pakistan, with former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani saying that the decision on the ex-military dictator’s return will be taken ‘somewhere else’.
On Tuesday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif had asked the government to facilitate Musharraf’s return to Pakistan, saying he has no personal enmity with the ex-military dictator.
“I have no personal enmity or animosity towards Pervez Musharraf. I don’t want anyone else to suffer the traumas I had to endure for my loved ones. I pray to Allah Almighty for his [Musharraf’s] health. If he wants to come back [to Pakistan], the government should provide facilities,” he had said in a tweet.
The Pakistan Army had confirmed that Musharraf’s family is in contact with the military regarding his mooted return to Pakistan. “The institution and its leadership have the stance that he should come back,” Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Major General Babar Iftikhar had said.
Last week, Musharraf’s family had said that the former president has been hospitalised for the last three weeks due to a complication of his ailment (amyloidosis). “Going through a difficult stage where recovery is not possible and organs are malfunctioning. Pray for ease in his daily living,” the statement had added.
Today, during a sitting of the Senate, PPP senator Yousaf Raza Gillani raised a question: “Were you able to stop him [Musharraf] when he was leaving [the country]? Will you be able to stop him from returning?”
“These decisions will not be taken by us … they will be taken somewhere else. I had forgiven him. If Pervez Musharraf wants to come back, he can. Pakistan is his home. But everyone should be treated equally,” he said.
Jamaat-i-Islami senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan said that Musharraf had been the “master of black and white” for 10 years, adding that the former military dictator had broken the Constitution twice and murdered the judiciary.
He said if Musharraf is returned to the country, then the doors of the prisons should also be opened and courts should be closed because the judiciary “won’t be needed”.
Senator Raza Rabbani said if Musharraf’s health is not good and he wants to return to the country, there is no problem. He added that things are very different when a person has been convicted by a court under Article 6 of the Constitution (high treason) and it would be very inappropriate to give a state burial to such a person.”
PTI senator Ejaz Chaudhary called for the law to take its course, saying that the country would only grow if the rule of law is equal for all.
PML-N Senator Irfan Siddiqui said whatever Nawaz Sharif said was in a personal capacity and if the Constitution and the law are strong, let them chart the path.
JUI-F leader Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said it would not be fair to stop Musharraf from returning to Pakistan. “Even Nawaz Sharif left the country for medical treatment,” he added.