Notice was issued to former military dictator Pervez Musharraf by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday to respond to the charges of treason, brought up against him for subverting the Constitution. The two-judge bench hearing the case also asked the government to ensure that he does not leave the country.

General Musharraf had already been placed on the Exit Control List after the Sindh High Court last month restrained him from leaving the country without permission. He faces a slew of charges including the assassinations of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and former Chief Minister of Balochistan Akbar Bugti besides illegal detention of members ofthe superior judiciary — including Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry — after declaration of Emergency in 2007.

Chaudhry stays away

Mr. Justice Chaudhry recused himself from the case, hours before it was taken up this morning. When the Court decided to take up the petition last week, he had set up a three-member bench under him to hear the case. But with eyebrows being raised about him hearing the case, he decided to step aside. The case has been scheduled for hearing on Tuesday.

The bench is hearing five cases that have been brought up against Gen. Musharraf who returned to Pakistan on March 24 after four years of self-exile. One of the petitioners has also objected to the protocol that has been accorded to him since his return.

Luck has not been on Gen. Musarraf’s side since his daughter secured an anticipatory bail. The Supreme Court decided to hear a clutch of petitions and his nomination papers for the National Assembly have been rejected from three constituencies — Karachi, Islamabad and Kasur before being accepted from Chitral.