How the mighty have fallen
Pakistan's former dictator, Pervez Musharraf, returned to Pakistan last month from self-imposed exile, looking to revive his political career by running for a seat in parliament during next month's elections.
Alas, judges, like elephants, have long memories. Musharraf's 2007 confrontation with the judiciary where he fired the chief justice of the Supreme Court and placed many other judges under house arrest, still rankles with Pakistan's judiciary.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court revoked his bail and issued an order for his arrest, causing Musharraf to flee the courtroom.
Musharraf's hasty exit from the Islamabad High Court seemed to symbolize the diminished influence of a former army chief who once dominated Pakistan's political landscape, but whose bid to stage a triumphal comeback has garnered widespread scorn.
The order pushed Pakistan's increasingly audacious judiciary into uncharted territory, challenging a long-standing, unwritten rule that the top ranks of the army, which ruled Pakistan for decades, are untouchable.
"Islamabad High Court has canceled Musharraf's bail and ordered his arrest," Mohammad Amjad, secretary-general of Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League party, told Reuters.
Amjad added that Musharraf's lawyers would lodge an appeal against the arrest order at the Supreme Court later in the day.
Despite Taliban death threats and a host of legal challenges, Musharraf returned from almost four years of self-imposed exile in London and Dubai last month in the hope of winning a seat in the National Assembly at the May 11 polls.
But his arrival has placed him at the mercy of judges whose memories are still raw of a showdown in 2007 when he sacked the chief justice, placed his colleagues under house arrest, and lawyers fought running battles with police.
Musharraf's hopes of standing in the elections were dashed earlier this week when election officers barred him from standing, in part due to the various legal challenges he faces.
On Thursday, a judge ordered he be detained in connection with allegations he committed treason during his 2007 confrontation with the judges when he declared emergency rule, a move which violated the constitution.
Musharraf was considered an ally during his time in power, although there were many times he didn't act like one. He made a deal with terrorists in the provinces that allowed them free access to Afghanistan. He released dozens of al-Qaeda suspects from Pakistani prisons. He was indifferent to infiltration by the Taliban into Afghanistan. But he kep the pipeline of arms open to the US army in Afghanistan and made some serious attempts at combating al-Qaeda - in Pakistan.
Now, he cuts a pathetic figure, running away from arrest and probably going into hiding or leaving the country for good. I'm sure the Pakistani people are saying "good riddance" to his departure.