Islamabad: The Pakistan government has decided to go ahead with the trial of former dictator Pervez Musharraf in the Supreme Court on a charge of high treason for abrogating the Constitution and imposing emergency rule in November 2007, according to a media report today.
The government will support measures to uphold the Constitution and rule of law instead of saving Musharraf from trial on a charge of high treason, an unnamed federal minister was quoted as saying by The News daily.
The minister, who holds an "important portfolio in the cabinet", said in line with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif's indication before his appointment as Prime Minister, the government will support Musharraf's trial for high treason.
The minister told The News that the PML-N government would ensure that the apex court's decision in the case is implemented.
Under the law, the Interior Secretary has to lodge a complaint against Musharraf under the Article 6 of the Constitution and the High Treason (Punishment) Act of 1973 for subverting or abrogating the Constitution.
The new Attorney General, Munir A Malik, met Sharif a few days ago to ascertain the government’s stance on the issue of putting Musharraf on trial under Article 6 of the Constitution, which relates to treason.
The meeting was held decide the government's position when the case against Musharraf is taken up for hearing by the apex court on June 24. Former Attorney General Irfan Qadir, while representing the caretaker government that conducted the polls on May 11, had submitted a statement saying that the interim administration was not interested in prosecuting Musharraf.
He further contended that the next elected government should decide the matter. During the last hearing of the case, the Supreme Court had made it clear that it would implement Article 6 of the Constitution in the case against Musharraf "even if heavens fall".
A three-judge bench led by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, which is hearing the case, had observed that the matter would be decided in accordance with the law. Musharraf had come to power in 1999 by deposing Sharif's last government in a military coup.
The 69-year-old former military ruler was arrested shortly after he returned to Pakistan in March to lead his party in the polls. He is currently being held at his farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad and is facing charges in three high-profile cases related to the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti in a 2006 military operation and the imposition of emergency in 2007.
The caretaker government led by former premier Mir Hazar Khan Khoso was asked by the apex court to proceed in line with the Constitution but it had flatly refused to initiate the trial of Musharraf for treason, contending that it was beyond the interim administration’s mandate to take any
Musharraf could become the first dictator in Pakistan’s history to face trial for high treason. However, analysts have said that any move to put him on trial could also trigger a confrontation between the civilian government and the powerful army, which would not like to see a former chief being publicly humiliated.