ISLAMABAD: Govt announces to try Musharraf for ‘treason’. Govt writes letter to CJP today to seek names of high court judges for special court to hold trial of former COAS over Nov 3 acts. Prosecutor to be announced today. The government announced Sunday it would put former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on trial for treason, punishable by death or life imprisonment, for imposing emergency rule in 2007.
“Following the judgement of the Supreme Court and a report submitted by an inquiry committee, it has been decided to start proceedings against General Pervez Musharraf (for treason) under Article 6 of the Constitution,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a press conference televised live. “It is happening for the first time in the history of Pakistan and the decision has been taken in the national interest,” Nisar said.
The minister said Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry would Monday (today) receive a letter from the government requesting the setting-up of a tribunal of three high court judges to start proceedings against Musharraf. The government would also announce a special prosecutor today.
Political analyst Hasan Askari said the move by the government appeared to be aimed at deflecting criticism over its failure on various fronts including law and order and the economy. He warned it would be counterproductive and likely fail. “The government would not be successful in this move because it has no credibility,” Askari told AFP. “The government is taking an unchartered course of action which would involve lot of complications and may add to its headaches,” he added. Askari said that the army, which has ruled the country for half of its existence since 1947, would not be happy over the decision against its former chief.
Musharraf is already facing four major criminal cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule, including one related to the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007. Last week he asked a court to let him leave the country to visit his sick mother in Dubai. The court is expected to rule on the application today. There have been rumours in recent months that a deal would be reached for Musharraf to leave Pakistan without going through with his trials. Nisar said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government had come to power five months ago and it had never demonstrated any “revengeful” gesture towards General Musharraf.
Addressing a press conference at Punjab House, Nisar declared that following the judgement of the Supreme Court and submission of a report by an inquiry committee, it has been decided that legal proceedings would be started against Musharraf (for treason) under Article 6 of the constitution. Nisar made it clear that the move of the government must not be considered as a personal vendetta against the former military dictator. “It has been five months since our party came into power and none of our acts could be categorised as personal revenge,” the minister asserted.
He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made it clear even before coming into power that Musharraf has been forgiven for all the personal troubles he caused. However, Nawaz categorically declared that constitutional violations will be dealt with according to the law, Nisar added. Talking about the work done by the government before going to the judiciary, Nisar revealed that a Federal Investigation Agency team was constituted to collect evidence for this case, and it submitted its report on November 16, which would be furnished in the Supreme Court.
“All team members hold very fine repute. They all can testify that no one has ever tried to influence them. Their only instruction was to follow the law,” the interior minister stated. Nisar said that Musharraf had committed crimes against the people of Pakistan and against the constitution, and nobody, not even the prime minister, can pardon him. Musharraf had been granted bail in all cases against him since his return to Pakistan in March this year.
Replying to a question about the Asghar Khan case, Nisar said that he has been pursuing this case too and a two-member FIA team will be constituted to probe it in the light of Supreme Court orders. He said, unfortunately, the previous PPP and caretaker governments did not made any headway in this regard.