The reaction to the Ashura tragedy in Rawalpindi has been muted. Though the bomb blasts on Friday night did kill five, there does not seem to have been as violent a reaction as expected. That is probably a good thing, for it shows that the sectarian divide dos not affect ordinary folk. As it was a case of the majority sect being victims, it showed that sect’s tolerance, and the numerous calls for peace made by their ulema should be attributed to that tolerance, not the ulema’s influence.

Rawalpindi seems to be home to tragedies. Prime Ministers have had a particularly hard time here, with two assassinated, and that too at the same ground. That ground was named after the first, Liaquat Ali Khan, and that was the place that Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. And then Rawalpindi is where a third was hanged. He was the only Pakistani Prime Minister to have gone on trial for murder.

And it seems that Pervez Musharraf is going to be the first ex-President to face trial. That is the same city that he was COAS in. Again, the constituting of the investigation team, though it has judges, does not have the fat DSP essential for success. You know, the kind of DSP with a paunch that his belt cannot contain, and with fallen arches, making walking a bit of a problem. And though he might find moving around a bit of a problem, he will be needed to produce two vital pieces of evidence. He will have to make a witness give evidence that Pervez Musharraf had an old enmity with the Constitution. Then he will need to produce a witness that Musharraf gave a lalkara, that is threatened the Constitution with bloodcurdling consequences if it persisted in following a particular course of action. From force of habit, and so that he could be more comfortable about the case, and so that he might spend a happy time with the case property, the DSP would also like to involve a buffalo or two (or three or four, because you can never have too many buffaloes in a case). He could either involve Musharraf directly in buffalo theft (making him guilty of subverting the Constitution and subverting buffaloes), or he could predicate the old enmity on a buffalo theft. Maybe Musharraf stole the Constitution’s buffalo. Or if the old enmity is to be Nawaz Sharif, it would be the latter’s buffalo.

This would avoid the problem of all those people who would need to be arrested for abetment in Musharraf’s second imposition of Emergency. You could arrest them for harbouring the animals, and you could produce witnesses testifying that Musharraf had given them the animals to harbour.

The surest sign that Musharraf will not just be honorably acquitted, but was intended to from the very first is shown by the fact that there is no approver, no accomplice who has agreed to testify to the entire conspiracy, in exchange for leniency in sentencing. As the charge carries the death sentence, that is no small thing.

Musharraf shares with his successor the trait that both are on bail. Mamnoon Husain probably hopes the bad luck doesn’t extend to him. As he signed off on NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry’s leave application, he might have noticed that that too is an ill-starred office. The last Chairman resigned, the one before him was turfed out by the Supreme Court, and the one before him also resigned. Chaudhry has merely gone on leave, both  not resigned, but there is an irony about the reason that is glaring. The Supreme Court has ordered the registration of a case against him under the NAB Ordinance. That means that all the close examination of what he would do about cases against President Zardari or against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has gone waste. What really needs to be watched is how he handles his own case.

That he is a retired major should have been enough to prevent prosecution. It would have been in the old days, but what with Musharraf, a retired full general, and an ex-President to boot, being prosecuted, does a retired major stand a chance?