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Pakistan to try Musharraf for treason

AFP
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Pakistani chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar (Right) administers the oath to Pervez Musharraf as civilian president at the presidential palace in Islamabad, 29 November 2007.PHOTO:AFP
Pakistani chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar (Right) administers the oath to Pervez Musharraf as civilian president at the presidential palace in Islamabad, 29 November 2007.PHOTO:AFP

Pakistan's new government said on Monday it would put former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on trial for treason, charges punishable by death or life imprisonment.

The retired general, who returned from four years of self-imposed exile in March, has been under house arrest at his villa on the edge of Islamabad since April 19.

He is fighting a series of cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule, which began when he seized power from then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who returned to office this month after winning landmark elections.

"Musharraf's actions came under the purview of high treason," Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told parliament. "He should face trial... and will have to answer for his guilt before the court," he added.

The attorney general delivered the same statement on behalf of the government in the Supreme Court, where a treason trial can be initiated only by the state.

Pakistan's highest court has for months been hearing a petition from lawyers demanding that Musharraf be tried for treason for subverting the constitution by imposing emergency rule and sacking judges in 2007.

Before May 11 general elections swept Sharif back to power, a caretaker government had refused to initiate the trial against Musharraf, saying it was beyond its mandate and up to the new, elected government.

Sharif did not mince his words.

"Musharraf violated the constitution twice. He overthrew an elected government in 1999 and put everything into jeopardy. He sacked judges and imprisoned them," said Sharif.

"We will follow the process of law and all political forces will be taken into confidence," he added.AFP


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