In the dock, again: Musharraf to be tried for treason

Published: November 18, 2013
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The move comes after Musharraf was granted bail in other criminal cases against him, including the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, slaying of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and Lal Masjid siege.

The move comes after Musharraf was granted bail in other criminal cases against him, including the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, slaying of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and Lal Masjid siege.

ISLAMABAD: 

The government will formally request the Supreme Court today (Monday) to constitute a ‘special court’ to try former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for high treason for imposing emergency rule in the country in November 2007.

“Following the judgment of the Supreme Court and a report submitted by an inquiry committee, it has been decided to start proceedings against Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf under Article 6 of the Constitution,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a news conference in the federal capital on Sunday.

“It is happening for the first time in the history of Pakistan. This case is very sensitive and important and the decision has been taken in the national interest,” he added.

The move comes after Musharraf was granted bail in other criminal cases against him, including the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, slaying of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and Lal Masjid siege. However, his name is still on the Exit Control List.

“A complaint will be lodged with the Supreme Court on Monday,” the interior minister said. “We’ll be submitting a letter to the apex court today seeking formation of a special court.”

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry may name three judges to be nominated from three high courts, Nisar said. After getting permission from the apex court, the government will write to the chief justices of the high courts for the names. The government will nominate a public prosecutor to assist the ‘special court’. The then army chief Gen Musharraf overthrew the Nawaz Sharif government in a military coup in October 1999, but a year later the Supreme Court validated the takeover. In November 2007, he imposed emergency rile, suspending the Constitution and parliament, and sacking dozens of top judges who declared his actions unconstitutional and illegal.

However, Nisar told journalists that putting Musharraf on trial was not a ‘vengeful’ decision. “Nothing is personal in this case. It’ll be a fair trial. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government has no personal grudge against him,” he added.

The interior minister insisted that Musharraf was not refusing to meet the FIA team but was reluctant to record his statement. “The FIA team [however] found what they needed [ample evidence to proceed against Musharraf],” he said.

Though Nisar did not share the FIA’s findings, a member of the team claimed that the military did not cooperate with the FIA’s team. “Despite repeated requests, the General Headquarters did not give us access to the relevant record,” he told The Express Tribune requesting anonymity.

The FIA team – headed by Khalid Qureshi – failed to find ‘commanding evidence’ which might have lead to a successful treason trial, he added.

The interior minister, however, dispelled the impression that the military did not cooperate with the FIA team which took at least 20 weeks to submit its 75-page report.

“The FIA team held three sessions with Musharraf to collect evidence,” said another senior official. The team also questioned over 32 senior officials, including the then governor of Punjab, interior minister, Islamabad police chief, interior secretary, law secretary and military officials to collect evidence, he added.

FIA team to probe Asghar Khan case

The interior minister also said that a three-member FIA committee has been formed to probe into the Asghar Khan case in light of the Supreme Court directions.

The team’s makeup will be announced today (Monday) or tomorrow and it will investigate former ISI chief Lt Gen (Retd) Asad Durrani and ex-army chief Gen (Retd) Aslam Beg for allegedly bribing politicians in order to rig the 1990 elections.

The Supreme Court had directed the FIA to probe charges in both cases: against Gen (Retd) Musharraf for subverting the Constitution twice and against Gen (Retd) Aslam Beg and Lt Gen (Retd) Durrani for rigging the elections. The FIA had also been directed to probe into charges against the politicians who were allegedly bribed.

Article 6 of the 1973 Constitution

(1) Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.

(2) Any person aiding or abetting [or collaborating] the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.

(2A) An act of high treason mentioned in clause (1) or clause (2) shall not be validated by any court including the Supreme Court and a High Court.

(3) [Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] shall by law provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of high treason.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (25)

  • Zif
    Nov 18, 2013 - 2:37AM

    Another topi drama to acquit Musharaf so that he can spend the rest of his life in peace.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Nov 18, 2013 - 2:43AM

    First of all, its not a move to divert attention. Authorities were already investigating his crimes after Supreme Court’s ordered to complete the process. If Government had not taken this step and let the Musharaf go off the hook, the same opposition would have called it Noora a Kushti. Suppose its true that government wants to divert attention, then so what..If Musharaf is sacrificed to calm down people and save hundreds of lives, then its not a bad move.

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  • Shabbir
    Nov 18, 2013 - 3:07AM

    Waste of time.
    Trial will keep going on and he will end up leaving the country and then coming back and actually be fully bailed out.
    Please don’t waste your time on this.

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  • Muhammad
    Nov 18, 2013 - 3:40AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    I was just about to say that

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  • Maria
    Nov 18, 2013 - 3:50AM

    Unless the government convicts this dictator, how will people ever learn that the rule of law and the constitution is supreme? Musharraf took over and ruled illegally for a decade after committing treason. He should be brought to justice for violating the nation and bringing in so much instability. Imagine had Musharraf not stepped in, Pakistan would have been through two or three cycles of democracy and the country would be so much more stable.

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  • truthbetold
    Nov 18, 2013 - 3:55AM

    @Zif:

    “Another topi drama to acquit Musharaf so that he can spend the rest of his life in peace.”

    Quite correct. This is a well-orchestrated drama to show the world how law-abiding and civilized Pakistan is. There is no doubt the already scripted ending of this drama is the complete acquittal of Mush.

    If Pakistan is indeed serious about treason charges, isn’t the coup and overthrowing of the lawfully elected Sharif government by Mush the most serious treasonous offense that is against the very constitution of Pakistan?

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  • Malik Hamza
    Nov 18, 2013 - 5:47AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    Lol Nisar thought of Musharraf on a Sunday what a day . Couldn’t he say this on Monday morning ! The reason he said it on Sunday was to take attention away from the real issues such as sectarian violence in Rawalpindi.
    Long alive Musharraf

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  • vasan
    Nov 18, 2013 - 6:30AM

    This is one case where Mush is seriously in the dock. AS the past CEO, the buck must have stopped there. Other cases, let me not make an opinion on Pakistan courts and judiciary, lest it be treated at contempt of court.

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  • Basim
    Nov 18, 2013 - 6:43AM

    Leave him alone, for God’s sake!

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  • Nov 18, 2013 - 6:47AM

    PML-N effort to suddenly bring charges against Musharraf smell of diversion of public attention from a possible conspiracy in Rawalpindi riots where very conveniently CCTV wires were cut just before the trouble and the very location where riots took place. Too many unanswered questions that must remain at top.

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  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Nov 18, 2013 - 6:48AM

    There should be no political motives to prosecute Musharraf, if he has abrogated, subverted, suspended or held the constitution of Pakistan in abeyance, then he must be charged and tried for the above but a fair and transparent proceedings should be conducted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan to let the world know that Pakistan has a world class judiciary. I believe and heard him say on BBC admitting that he had violated the constitution in November, 2007, he has already incriminated himself on mass media because he thought he was too powerful a person to worry about the legalities of it, after all he has ruled the country with iron hand for 10 years. some one should remind all these invincible leaders military or civilian that what goes around come around and General Musharraf is a fine example of it.

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  • Nov 18, 2013 - 6:57AM

    Musharraf is the only solution to fixing Pakistan’s problems. Bringing case against him under Article 6 of the Constitution will open open pandora’s box of possible cases aganst ALL other past and present leaders and their friends if Pakistan’s new unbiased Judicial system is in place. Musharraf made many mistakes but far less than most other leaders. He did a lot more good and is single handedly responsible to setting in motion so many initiatives that are now taking benefit like freedom of the press, women empowerment etc

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  • Mirza
    Nov 18, 2013 - 9:11AM

    Like any other criminal General Mush deserves his day in court. Let the courts decide his fate.

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  • Humza
    Nov 18, 2013 - 9:17AM

    @Zif: What drama? Imagine if a general took over in any Western country and abrogated the constitution. He would be charged with treason plain and simple. Pakistanis must learn that no one is above the law and the constitution so for this reason Musharraf must be tried.

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  • Junaid
    Nov 18, 2013 - 9:31AM

    If Musharraf is being tried for treason, then ALL previous dictators need to be tried for treason.

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  • bhai log
    Nov 18, 2013 - 9:32AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    And what were Musharaf ‘s crimes?

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  • Betel-Q8
    Nov 18, 2013 - 10:02AM

    This time, it seems, they are in a little hurry to reside abroad.

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  • Parvez
    Nov 18, 2013 - 2:11PM

    @bhai log: His biggest crime was NOT doing what should and could have been done.

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  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Nov 18, 2013 - 3:01PM

    @Junaid:

    Don’t worry, all the past dictators have passed away and would be tried and convicted posthumously. The one who is alive and kicking at the moment has to face the music first.

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  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Nov 18, 2013 - 3:08PM

    @Malik Hamza:

    The mere mention of Rawalpindi fiasco in your post and that in the posts of other bloggers is a testament to the fact that people do not have short memory span nor they will forget the loss of human lives to sectarian violence. So quit pondering on the school of thought that Mushraaf’s development has anything to do with Rawalpindi or vice versa.

    Recommend

  • Syed
    Nov 18, 2013 - 9:08PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad: and Mirza…
    So Mr. whoever are you…we have already seen what was delivered by PPP in their Tenure – Let see what this govt. of PML-N delivers and then come back and post the achievements or simply Compare the econimic facters during Musharraf and PPP and PML-N combine tenure. until then – please work towards the betterment of Pakistan rather than taking sides.
    On a side note, this doesn’t mean I am siding with Musharraf but rather would like to see some open and honest comments instead that are missing for a long time.

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  • Pakistani Patriot
    Nov 18, 2013 - 10:17PM

    What treason? Promulgation of emergency is not unconstitutional. It was used by PPP twice in the last 5 years, in Punjab and Balochistan by setting the elected chief ministers and the provencial assemblies aside temporarily and handing over powers to the “selected” governors. The only action that can be termed unconsitutional is the 1999 act that by the way was already granted immunity by the very own CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry under what he termed law of necessity. The real question is how can one expect justice when the prosecuting and judging parties are both partial. The SC has proven bias by declaring the 2007 act unconsitutional without a trial – something that a court should never do. What’s the use of a trial now when the judgement has already been passed, and without hearing any parties? What will the trial court do now, go against the supreme court’s earlier ruling? Pathetic excuse of justice!

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  • Pakistani Patriot
    Nov 18, 2013 - 10:28PM

    @Maria:
    Dear Maria, this is Pakistan we are talking about, not Canada. Unless you have been asleep, these very parties have had not one, or two or three but multiple runs at this democracy and not once have they delivered anything but corruption, incompetency, bankruptcy, and insecurity for Pakistan. We all would have loved to subscribe to your simple minded enthusiasm for the PMLN and PPP democracy but facts bear that Musharraf put the country on far better path than these two despite multiple chances. If Musharraf being a general all his life can deliver far superior results within 2-3 years then why can’t these democratic governements? The answer is that they are not interested in governing Pakistan, they don’t have democratic policies within their own parties, and they only are here to loot the country. The average Pakistani doesn’t give a hoot for democracy if it delivers the results that any political party has delivered in Pakistan’s history.

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  • Abc
    Nov 18, 2013 - 10:39PM

    @humza …imagine if zardari or Nawaz sharif won an election in a western country…. :)

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  • Malik Hamza
    Nov 20, 2013 - 12:07AM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    Unfortunately we Pakistani have a short term memory just like you , because all the talk shows were on article 6 instead of being on sectrain violence.

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