A police station in the Pakistani capital has registered a case against the former President, Pervez Musharraf, for illegally detaining judges of the Supreme Court in November 2007. The case was registered after an additional sessions judge ordered the police to file an FIR against the former military ruler on Monday.
A lawyer had petitioned the court to pass the order after the police initially turned down his application to register the FIR.
The FIR states that General (retired) Musharraf kept the Chief Justice and other judges of the Supreme Court and their families in illegal confinement, and invokes Section 344 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which makes wrongful confinement of any person for 10 days or more punishable with a three-year imprisonment.
Chief Justice Ifthikar Chaudhary and the other judges were placed under house arrest on November 3, 2007 when General Musharraf imposed Emergency rule.
They were released five month later after an order by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in March 2008, but it took another year for them to regain their places in the Supreme Court.
Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that General Musharraf’s Emergency, and all the actions he took under it were illegal and unconstitutional, but the bench did not pass any explicit order against him.
The former President has been in London for many months. After the Supreme Court verdict, there have been demands by the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), and sections of the media and the legal community, that the government initiate treason proceedings against him.
There are indications that the Army would not be pleased with a trial of its former boss. A treason trial against General Musharraf could open up uncomfortable questions about the role of other generals during the emergency. Some are now in key positions. It could also open up the role of the Pakistan Army as an institution in the country’s politics.
Prime Minister Gilani has safely passed the buck to Parliament saying the government would have no hesitation in doing so if the National Assembly were to adopt a unanimous resolution in this regard.
With the demands for a treason trial and now this case against him, it now appears unlikely that General Musharraf will return to Pakistan in the foreseeable future.