LAHORE - At a meeting of the ‘Lahore Forum’ held under the chairmanship of Mian Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, former Foreign Minister of Pakistan and Chairman Regional Peace Institute, the participants were of the view that  Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s trial  under Article 6 seemed to be a well-planned diversion strategy of the government to distract the attention of the people from the current grave issues like ever increasing terrorist incidents, unprecedented price hikes, inflation etc.

The session was attended by prominent intellectuals, analysts and media anchors/columnists including Begum Mehnaz Rafi, Mujeebur Rehman Shami, Prof Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, Irshad Arif, Salim Bukhari, Saeed Aasi, Brig (retd) Farooq Hameed, Farrukh Sohail Goendi, Taufiq Butt , Hafiz Tariq, Mazhar Qayyum, Salman Abid, Tanwir Shahzad, QayyumNizami and Dr. Ajmal Niazi.

The forum was of the view that while the constitutional path should be followed, it was equally clear that since 18th Amendment washed away the legal cover accorded by 17th Constitutional Amendment to military takeover of 12th October 1999, it would be in the interest of justice if the proceedings started from the original takeover of October 12, 1999. The members felt that history was a witness to the fact that selective justice was no justice at all and that people could not be fooled by such actions in the name of justice.

The members of the Forum appreciated the government’s ongoing targeted operation in Karachi to restore peace in the country’s economic hub by going after banned extremist/ sectarian groups, target killers, extortion and land mafia. They felt that it is essential to keep up the momentum of the security agencies’ operation, which is already showing positive results. They were of the opinion that there was a strong need to depoliticise the police all over the country and impose a complete ban on recruitment on political considerations.

 The participants were unanimous that dialogue with Tehreek –e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is the preferred option to achieve lasting peace in Fata. 

They, however, strongly felt that it was in the interest of Pakistan’s international reputation as well as its economic well being as well as peace and stability in the country that the writ of the state be established and law and order be restored at all costs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa/ FATA, if talks with the TTP could not be resumed for any reason.

The members felt that Pakistan’s stability and well being could only be ensured by living up to the vision of Pakistan envisaged by Quaid-i -Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The Forum members commended the media for exercising caution and acting responsibly in not showing footage of violence and bloodshed on Ashura day in Rawalpindi. They strongly felt that all administration personnel who displayed inefficiency in handling the crisis should be held accountable.