By LIAQUAT ALI KHAN | Counterpunch, Feb. 22, 2008
Pervez Musharraf, who usurped power in Pakistan on November 3, 2007 by virtue of his Proclamation of Emergency, refuses to relinquish the office of the President, an office he unlawfully occupies against the will of the people and contrary to the Constitution of Pakistan. This essay argues that if Musharraf does not voluntarily vacate the Presidency, Pakistan's newly-elected Parliament is authorized to pass an Emergency Bill to capture him, charge him with treason, and prosecute him under Article 6(1) of the Constitution, under which: "Any person who abrogates or attempts or conspires to abrogate, subverts or attempts or conspires to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason."
Arresting Pervez Musharraf will establish the sovereignty of the Parliament, fulfill the demands of justice, and restore the rule of law for which the judiciary and lawyers of Pakistan have paid a heavy price. Any compromise with Musharraf that keeps him in office might please foreign constituencies. But it will be lethal for democracy and constitutionality in Pakistan. Any such compromise will encourage future military coups. The time has come for Pakistan to show to the world that a fearless democracy can remove usurpers in a strong but lawful manner.
Incarceration, not Impeachment
Article 47 of the Constitution of Pakistan furnishes a procedure to impeach the President. The President is impeached if he violates the Constitution or engages in gross misconduct. The National Parliament comprised of the Senate and the Assembly investigates the charges. During the investigation, the President has the right to appear before the joint sitting of the two Houses. If, after investigation of the charges, a two-thirds majority of the Parliament passes an impeachment resolution, "the President shall cease to hold office immediately on the passing of the resolution."