February 3, 2012

The Chat Room: Episode 3

Topic: Is there any political future for Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan?
When: Friday, February 3, 2012 @6:30pm
Where: teabreak.pk
Who: Moderator Farieha Aziz is joined by panellists Senator (R) Iqbal Haider (Lawyer), Nadir Hassan (Journalist), Jawaid Iqbal (Public Relations Expert), Ahmed Raza Qasuri (APML member and Advocate)


After several weeks of promises and plans at the waning end of 2011 and the first weeks of 2012, Pervez Musharraf cancelled what he had been hoping would be another coup: a successful return to Pakistan. Theformer military ruler has not been back to the country since he was forced from power more than three years ago. His imminent return was to allow him to fight general elections within the next year.

Hanging over his head are threats of arrest from the present government for his role in the death of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007, for allegedly failing to provide security on the day Bhutto was killed in a suicide attack. But he is also an accused in the murder of Baloch leader Akbar Bugti, who was killed in 2006 after a standoff with the Pakistan military.

Being unable to return is an embarrassing turnaround for the former military dictator who evolved from army chief to civilian president during nine years of power. He is the same man who launched the offensive in Kargil in 1999 and plunged Pakistan into war with India. He was also known as America’s favourite dictator when he was pulled into the centre of international politics in the aftermath of 9/11 and became a key strategic partner of the US in the region. Towards the end of his tenure, his status as US ally became increasingly tenuous as his government was accused by the West of having continuing links with the Taliban. Musharraf was also accused of making secret deals with the US allowing the superpower to take unilateral action on Pakistani territory.

Was Musharraf’s fatal flaw a desire for too much power? On November 3, 2007, he suspended Pakistan’s constitution and used emergency powers, unconstitutionally, to sack judges in Pakistan’s highest court. The former president also signed the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in October 2007, which granted amnesty to politicians accused of corruption. In December 2009, Pakistan’s Supreme Court declared the ordinance null and void. At the end of January 2012, Pakistan’s Senate passed a resolution calling for Musharraf to be charged with treason.

A bid to become an elected leader of the people is a desire close to Musharraf’s heart, as seen from his writing and speeches, including his book In the Line of Fire, in which he claims he is “a man of destiny.” Right now his newly founded political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) is struggling to win support from voters in Pakistan.

In the third episode of The Chat Room (a Newsline and Teabreak.pk co-production), our panellists discuss Musharraf’s desire to remain in Pakistani politics and the realities that hinder his return. (Extra: To see replays of our past live discussions, please check out Episode 1 on the 2011 floods in Sindh and Episode 2 on social media and democracy. There is also a bonus podcast that accompanies Episode 1).


The Ch@t Room

Episode 3: You can participate in this online discussion on Pervez Musharraf by asking our panellists questions and by answering polls. View a list of our panellists and read their bios below. Click here to go to the event page.


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Meet our Moderator and Panellists


Farieha Aziz
Farieha Aziz is a Karachi-based journalist and teacher. She joined Newsline in 2007, rising to assistant editor. Farieha was awarded the APNS award for Best Investigative Report (Business/Economic) for the year 2007-2008. She has a masters in English from the University of Karachi. You can find her on twitter @FariehaAziz.



Senator (R) Iqbal Haider
Senator Iqbal Haider is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan with a strong interest in human rights. He has served as attorney general and is a former federal minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.

Nadir Hassan
Nadir Hassan is a journalist based in Islamabad. He has worked at Newsline and the Express Tribune.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal
Syed Jawaid Iqbal has extensive experience in the PR and media industry in a career spanning more than 30 years. JI, as he is known in the industry, is President and CEO of CMC (Pvt.) Ltd and is also founder and chairman of Moderates, a private sector think tank founded in 2003 with a view to strengthen tolerance, interfaith harmony and democracy. Apart from public relations, JI has appeared on national and international media and has written and spoken on political affairs, regional developments, foreign policy and the media. He has also conducted numerous interviews with politicians and heads of state and has served on the board of various regional forums. JI interviewed General Pervez Musharraf on the completion of his government’s 100 days, incidentally conducting the first-ever interview with a serving head of the Pakistan government, exclusively recorded by Pakistan Television, in the history of the country.

Sahibzada Ahmed Raza Khan Qasuri
Barrister Ahmed Raza Qasuri is a member of the All Pakistan Muslim League and he is an advocate for the Supreme Court.

The writer is a former assistant editor at Newsline