Pakistan government’s decision to initiate a high treason case against Pervez Musharraf is a “vicious attempt” to undermine the country’s military, the former President’s spokesperson said on Monday.
“We view with grave suspicion the timing of the announcement by the Taliban sympathetic Nawaz government to initiate treason proceedings,” Raza Bokhari, International Spokesperson for Mr. Musharraf, said.
“We not only forcefully reject these charges, but also view them as a vicious attempt to undermine the Pakistan Military. It is also a botched attempt by the government to temporarily take the focus away from existential threats faced by Pakistan,” Mr. Bokhari said.
He said Mr. Musharraf in exercise of powers vested in him by Article 232 of the Constitution, declared a state of emergency on November 3, 2007, and held in abeyance certain sections of the Constitution.
“He (Mr. Musharraf) took this much needed action to reform an activist segment of the judiciary and augment security operations against extremists and terrorists who were wreaking havoc in Pakistan,” the spokesman said in a statement issued on behalf of the former President.
“It is important to note, the former President acted after the unanimous advice of the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Governors of all the four Provinces, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Chiefs of the Armed Forces, Vice Chief of the Army Staff and the Core Commanders of the Pakistan Army,” Mr. Bokhari said.
He stressed that it is extremely important to remember that Mr. Musharraf also lifted the state of emergency on December 15, 2007 and fully restored the Constitution.
“It is unfortunate that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is obsessed by politics of personal vendetta and is criminalising the lawful acts of the Mr. Musharraf government,” Mr. Bokhari said.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had on Sunday said the government will approach the Supreme Court to initiate a treason prosecution of Mr. Musharraf, a charge punishable by death or life imprisonment.
Analysts say this could bring the government in direct confrontation with the powerful Army.
The military has ruled Pakistan for about half of the country’s 66-year history and no ruler or top military commander had ever faced criminal prosecution until Mr. Musharraf’s return from exile in April.
Since then, he has faced criminal prosecution in four cases related to his time in power.