Musharraf ran from pillar to post to stay in power till eternity. His closest ally -- the United States -- completely abandoned him. However, the Pakistan Army and the Saudi Arabian government came to his aide. Though they could not save his illegitimate rule from falling, however, they saved his skin and from further humiliation. Thus both have played a shameful role. Both could have been remembered positively in the history had they acted like the United States. They have saved a person who had to be answerable to his innumerable illegal acts.
Musharraf could not have fled the country had he not been helped by the army and the Saudi government. Such a disgraceful role could have been expected from the Pakistan Army because of its previous reputation but not from the rulers of Saudi Arabia -- a country where the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) was born and that considers itself the true custodian of Islam.
The Saudis have not done any favour to Pakistan by harboring Musharraf. By doing so, they have committed a crime against the innocent people of Pakistan who have suffered miserably for more than eight years due to Musharraf's inhuman policies. I have no doubt in my mind that the Pakistan Army and the Saudis have done a heinous crime against humanity by offering Musharraf an exit from Pakistan and asylum in Saudi Arabia.
Musharraf who always boasted to be a commando proved himself a coward and unscrupulous man. In his speech, he claimed that more than 85 percent of the people want him to stay. Why did he run away from the country then? He should have stayed back. He said that nobody could have proved any charge against him. If he were really a holy cow, then he should have faced all the charges.
The politicians of PMLN, PPP and anti-Musharraf parties are very happy in Islamabad. They think they have achieved a great objective by removing Musharraf. They believe Musharraf's resignation is a victory of democracy and civil society. They also believe that the army has acceded to the civilian supremacy. Their thinking is naïve. Musharraf's resignation is his victory, not theirs. He committed numerous illegal acts one after another. When he was able to commit no further atrocities, the army and the Saudis came to his rescue. The country has been made a spectacle before the word.
It would have been a true victory of democracy and the civil society had Musharraf been punished for his sins. It would have been a true recognition to the supremacy of the civilian leadership by the army had Musharraf been tried for overthrowing an elected government on October 12, 1999 and his subsequent illegal actions. But how could a clique of corrupt and power-hungry politicians have brought Musharraf to justice? All of them are in power today due to the amnesty that they had received from the same Musharraf when he was the army chief.
Musharraf's resignation simply reinforces an ugly truth about Pakistan i.e. there is no rule of law in this country. This society is run on the principle of 'might is right'. Musharraf's speech was full of arrogance. He expressed no regrets, no remorse over his misdeeds. He still had the conviction that he had the right to do whatever he has done. His resignation is just the beginning of new crises. The biggest crisis is that of the restoration of judiciary. The people of Pakistan seriously doubt Asif Ali Zardari' intentions regarding the restoration of judiciary. He promised to restore the judiciary in three declarations but he never kept his words. His last promise to the nation was that the judges will be restored soon after Musharraf's departure. It is easier said than done. An independent judiciary in the form of Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is a serious threat to politicians like Zardari. We have to see how Zardari and party changes colour on this issue.
Another important issue is, who will be the new president of Pakistan. Creating a consensus of this issue will be the most difficult task. Columnist Ayaz Amir has made a good suggestion that Sardar Attaullah Mengal should be made the president of Pakistan. This move will put balm on the wounded souls of the Baloch people. But we have heard statements from various PPP leaders that the office of the president is the right of the PPP.
Insurgency in Balochistan and militancy in the tribal areas will remain a mammoth challenge to the new government. Musharraf's resignation is not going to address these issues. Nor it can improve the abominable plight of the people of Pakistan to stop them from committing suicide due to the fear of hunger. An honest and true leadership is needed to address these issues that is an impossible thing to happen in Pakistan.