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Musharraf plea for military trial rejected

Pakistani tribunal will hear treason case against former president

Musharraf plea for military trial rejected

Musharraf supporters outside court (picture: AFP Photo/Farooq Naeem) reporter, Islamabad

February 21, 2014

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A special tribunal hearing treason charges against former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf on Friday rejected his plea to transfer the case to a military court, his lawyers said.

Musharraf, 70, is being tried in a specially constituted tribunal on charges of declaring emergency rule in late 2007 while serving as president.

In its decision, the three-member special court headed by Justice Faisal Arab struck down Musharraf’s pleas regarding the constitution of a military court and jurisdiction of the bench to try a general for treason.

The court said it has full jurisdiction to try Musharraf and summoned him to appear on March 11 for framing of charges.

Meanwhile, Musharraf’s counsel Ahmed Raza Kasuri criticized the ruling as a biased decision, vowing to appeal to the Supreme Court.

“Musharraf could only be tried in a military court under the Army Act as he had declared emergency rule as army chief,” Kasuri told reporters.

“This case is a non-issue. Many people before Musharraf had abrogated the constitution. Why alone was he being targeted by the government?”

Rana Ejaz, a member Musharraf’s defense team, said that he lodged a strong protest before the bench and accused the judges of acting at the behest of the government and former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

Musharraf is facing a raft of legal cases since returning to Pakistan last March from a self-imposed exile to lead his political party in parliamentary elections. He was disqualified and barred from taking part in the polls.

He took power in a 1999 coup and led the country until he stepped down in 2008 under threat of impeachment.

The charges against Musharraf mark the first time a former leader or high ranking military official has faced criminal prosecution.

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