Musharraf challenges treason trial

Islamabad, Dec 21: Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has challenged his trial for high treason, saying he can only be prosecuted under the Army Act and not in a civilian court, a media report said.

The former military ruler faces charges of high treason for imposing emergency Nov 3, 2007 that kept the constitution in abeyance, and is due to appear in a special court Dec 24, Dawn News reported.

It is the first time in Pakistan’s 66-year history that a former military leader will be tried for high treason.

In a fresh application filed in the Islamabad High Court Saturday, Musharraf said the emergency imposed Nov 3 was not an arbitrary act, and that it had the support of all relevant stakeholders.

The application said the emergency was imposed while he was serving as a military general and therefore investigation against him could only be carried out under the Army Act.

Musharraf could not be tried in court without including those who had taken part in the act, it added.

The application said the government should be prevented from conducting investigation against Musharraf in a special court.

In June, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced Musharraf would be tried for high treason in his speech to the National Assembly less than three weeks after returning to power following his PML-N party’s victory in the general elections.

Musharraf took over in a bloodless coup when he dismissed the government of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999. He was the president from 2001 to 2008, when he stepped down and went on to live in London in self-exile.

He returned to Islamabad in March this year to take part in parliamentary elections. However, a court disqualified him from contesting the polls.

The former army chief stays at his farmhouse in Islamabad after he got bail in three high profile cases, including the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.