Former Pakistani leader charged with treason
Musharraf already faces criminal charges including murder
Pakistan announced Sunday that former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf would be put on trial for high treason for imposing emergency rule in late 2007.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan made the announcement at a press conference in Islamabad, saying the former president subverted Pakistan’s constitution when he imposed emergency rule and fired most of the judiciary.
“We have made this decision in the national interest,” Khan said.
The case will be heard by a three-judge special court and tried by a special public prosecutor, he added.
Musharraf, 70, already has been granted bail for a slew of crimes, including the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the killing of a Baluch separatist leader and the detention of several Pakistani judges.
Musharraf faced the charges since returning in March from a self-imposed exile to lead his political party in May parliamentary elections. He was disqualified and barred from taking part in the polls. He secured bail in early November from house arrest, which he had been under since April.
Musharraf took power in a 1999 coup and led the country until he stepped down in 2008 under the threat of impeachment.
The charges against Musharraf mark the first time a former leader or high ranking military official has faced criminal prosecution.
Musharraf’s close aide and his legal counsel Ahmed Raza Kasuri warned the government against the move, saying it was politically motivated and could have an adverse affect on Pakistan’s fragile democracy.
“Under the constitution, many generals, judges, bureaucrats and politicians, who acted as abettors, aiders and collaborators during military rulers will also have to face this case,” he said.
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