Islamabad, Aug.17 : An editorial in Pakistan's Daily Times newspaper points out that there are seven main or salient charges against President Pervez Musharraf, as determined by a committee appointed by the coalition government.
The gist of the charges are as follows: (1) Military coup against the elected government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999; (2) Suspension of the Constitution twice and aggression against the judiciary, on March 9, 2007 and on November 3, 2007; (3) Indifference to the constitutional requirement of annual address to parliament; (4) Making the NFC award to the provinces without consulting them; (5) Military operation in Balochistan and the target-killing of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti; (6) Military operation on Lal Masjid in July 2007 and (7) "Missing persons" and their extradition to the United States, and the Damadola attack.
According to the editorial, despite the divided opinion among Musharraf's legal advisers, he must understand that impeachment is not a judicial process.
"The charges will be adjudged, not by a court, but a gathering of politicians who don't want him around any more while some of them want revenge for what they think they have gone through because of him," it adds.
The editorial admits that many will question the wisdom of some of the charges, for instance, the military coup in 1999 and the two suspensions of the Constitution, both of which have been already indemnified by the verdict of the Supreme Court through the Provisional Constitutional Order of 2000.
Similarly, the editorial says that Musharraf's inability or unwillingness to address the joint session is a "picayune" allegation although it is required by the Constitution, while the the issue of the Lal Masjid Operation, it says needs to be approached carefully by the coalition government, as it has already been internationalised and could affect Pakistan's external relations.
"It also involves serving officers of the Pakistan Army who carried out the Operation," it warns.
It believes that Musharraf will be able to rebut the charges against him effectively, but anticipates that his defence will "move neither the politicians sitting there nor the people of Pakistan."