Musharraf’s tricky maneouvre outwits the Islamist opposition
Not that the niceties matter much, but this is how Musharraf tricked the Islamist opposition into backing the constitutional amendments in return for a promise to step down as Army chief by the end of this year.
Though the post-17th amendment constitutional position is that the President cannot carry on with two offices after December 31, 3004, the pro-Musharraf political circles have some space to press on with their demand. The 17th constitutional amendment stipulates that Article 63-1-d of the constitution would become â€œoperative from the 31st day of December 2004â€. The said article implies that the president cannot hold any other office of profit in the service of Pakistan. However, it allows the parliament to exclude any government assignment from the category by ordinary legislation. Apparently the MMA leadership, while voting for the 17th constitutional amendment did not understand the implication of this provision.
The PML and its allies can therefore move a bill in the parliament to exclude the office of army chief from the category of the office of profit. Given their comfortable majority in both houses of parliament its passage should be no problem. It is bound to cause much political hue and cry but a determined ruling party can get away with it.[Daily Times]
The moral of this story, again, is dont count on Musharraf to keep his end of the bargain. This is a lesson for George W. Bush, Atal Behari Vajpayee and even for Osama Bin Laden.