Justice Katju: Pakistan is mourning a crooked despot

Justice Markandey Katju-

Justice Markandey Katju

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

Messages of condolence, including those from the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan, have been pouring in on social media over the death of the former President of Pakistan, Gen Parvez Musharraf on February 5, in a hospital in Dubai. Many of these messages have praised Musharraf sky high.


When I criticized Musharraf, some people commented that one should not criticize a dead person. By that logic, one should not criticize people like Hitler, Mussolini, Gen Zia-ul-Haq, Idi Amin, Batista, Pinochet, Mugabe, and other tyrants and crooks, since they are dead.

What is the truth about Musharraf?

The truth is that he was a despot.



As chief of the Pakistan army, Gen Musharraf started the Kargil war ( allegedly without the knowledge of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, ), in May, 1999, which lasted till July, causing many casualties on both sides.

He then took power by an illegal army coup in October,1999, imposed an emergency, and suspended the Pakistan Constitution. He issued the Judges Oath Order, 2000 requiring all Supreme Court and High Court judges to take an oath of loyalty to the army, sacking those who refused, thus ending the independence of the judiciary. He appointed himself as the President in 2001.

He sacked the then Chief Justice of Pakistan in 2007 Iftikhar Choudhary, but the agitation of lawyers, who were joined by the general public, and the storming of the Lal Masjid mosque made him flee the country in 2008 to avoid impeachment.


Later, he was charged under Article 6 of the Pakistan Constitution (which declares suspending the Constitution a high treason ) and sentenced to death in 2019 in abstentia by a special court, though that judgment was later annulled on a technicality by the High Court.

Musharraf started living in Dubai, where he died recently.
Some people say that Musharraf was not corrupt, but the truth is that he was highly corrupt, as detailed in the link below, and he injected corruption into the senior hierarchy of Pakistan’s military by allotting plots and other benefits to the officers.


He admitted to the journalist Nadeem Malik of Samaa TV that he owns a lavish flat in London worth several million dollars, and another in Dubai.


In his interview, he claimed that the money for these flats was given to him by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia after he remitted office, but that claim, as well as his claim that it was given to him as he was close to King Abdullah,  has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

It is reported that Musharraf built nearly 30 properties, including fancy farmhouses, luxury apartments in the Middle East and London, and houses in Karachi and other Pakistani cities.




Could he have amassed so much wealth on his army pay? Obviously not.
It is claimed by some that Musharraf built up Pakisan’s economy, but the truth is that his regime devastated it so deeply that it may never recover.


So it is evident that Musharraf was not only a despot but also corrupt.

And this is the man for whom many Pakistanis are weeping and wailing!

Unfortunately, many people in Pakistan are emotional and lament over the demise of a leader, even if he/she was corrupt and/or despotic, as in the case of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.


It is high time that people in Pakistan learn to be unemotional and know the truth about their leaders, which has resulted in Pakistan becoming bankrupt, and its Ministers going around the world with a begging bowl.


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