Going by recent events, it is probable that with General Pervez Musharraf’s return to Pakistan, history can take a previously untrod path—a military dictator being punished by the country’s independent judiciary for offences against the state. Can he be found guilty in the triad of serious charges against him—complicity in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in 2007, in the killing of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in 2006, and for illegally suspending Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry? Some also hold him responsible for lives lost at the siege of Lal Masjid in Islamabad in 2007.
For many bristling at the thought of politicians long being at the receiving end—jail, exile, death—it is payback time. “Let a new generation of military officers see what people feel about democracy and respect them for that,” says Adnan Rehmat, a political analyst.