WASHINGTON — In an unprecedented move by the civilian government, they have started the prosecution for one of their former military dictators for a murder of a political candidate in 2007.
Reuters reports that recently returned and exiled dictator Pervez Musharraf has been accused of murdering political opponent Benazir Bhutto.
Although Musharraf did not participate, government prosecutors say that he ordered the suicide gun and bomb attack on Bhutto’s rally, which happened to occur close to the courthouse where Musharraf is being tried. Some say that he may be convicted, but this would only be symbolic. These analysts say that Musharraf will probably be allowed to return to exile.
Musharraf is no friend of the Pakistani Taliban, which has wreaked havoc in Pakistan in recent months. Attacks on political rallies, a suicide bombing that killed a senior government aide to the prime minister and even attacks on the country’s intelligence agency have rocked the country.
It is an unwritten rule for the civilian government to not prosecute military leaders, as the military has intervened and toppled civilian governments over the years. The current government, led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has a long memory. Sharif was ousted in a coup by Musharraf years earlier.
Pakistan’s stability is a major issue because it has nuclear weapons, and the West fears it could fall into the wrong hands (i.e. Pakistani Taliban). India also fears this and that these weapons, if seized, could be used on them and other countries.
The trial comes on the heels of a recent controversy where Indian troops were ambushed and five were killed in the contested province of Kashmir. India accused Pakistan of involvement, which the Pakistani government flatly denied.