Analysis

Musharraf Trial Will Expose Pakistan’s Civilian-Military Divide
Pervez Musharraf addresses his party supporters at his house in Islamabad, Pakistan in this April 15, 2013. (B.K. Bangash, File)
November 26, 2013
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| Asia and the Pacific
Summary
The Pakistan government’s request that the Supreme Court place on trial for treason former President Pervez Musharraf creates what Pakistan hardly needs, a new crisis pitting civilian against military authorities. That is a recurring theme; the military has ruled Pakistan for about half the time since the nation’s August 1947 birth. Decisions on critical foreign policy and security issues still remain often in the hands of military rather than civilian, popularly elected officials.
Pakistan confronts a litany of nearly insurmountable problems, including rampant poverty, relentless unemployment and an unwillingness or inability to control terrorist groups who use the country for sanctuary. Relations with India are tense. The Musharraf trial, if it comes to pass, will be the first time a military officer who served at the highest level of government will have been placed on trial for treason. Pakistan’s military holds an honored and powerful place in society. Regardless of the outcome, a trial will provide answers on whether the military is prepared to accept the rule of law and predominance of civilian and judicial authority.
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