Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Is Musharraf's Arrest a Sign of a Political Shift in Pakistan?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Is Musharraf's Arrest a Sign of a Political Shift in Pakistan?

Article excerpt

Pakistan's former military rulers have long been held responsible for the instability and militancy plaguing the country and for disrupting democratically elected governments. None have ever been held accountable. In a remarkable first, former Army chief Pervez Musharraf was arrested on Friday and is being held in police custody for two days.

General Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008 as Army chief, a self-styled "chief executive," and later president, returned to the country last month after several years in exile. He had sought to participate in parliamentary elections scheduled for May 11, but was rejected by judicial officials overseeing part of the election process.

Given his party's status as a non-entity in Pakistani politics and his own exit from the electoral race, Musharraf's arrest is unlikely to have any impact on the election but will make for conjecture and debate in the days ahead. "Musharraf's arrest has less substantive implications for rule of law but is of much greater significance for the implementation of institutional equilibrium that Pakistanis have sought for the entire history of our country," says political analyst Mosharraf Zaidi.

It has been a dramatic couple of days for the former military ruler. On Thursday, reports that Musharraf had "fled" the court for the safety of his house on the outskirts of Islamabad to avoid being arrested dominated conversation on news channels, on the streets, and online.

Musharraf faces a litany of criminal cases, but the one that has led to his arrest relates to the detention of Supreme Court judges in 2007, when he deposed the country's chief justice. The Islamabad High Court ruled on Thursday that detaining judges of superior courts and preventing them from working was an act of terrorism according to the country's law. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.