Pakistan’s government will support treason charges against former military dictator Pervez Musharraf for suspending the country’s constitution in 2007, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in parliament today.
“Musharraf has to answer for his actions,” Sharif told lawmakers, adding his administration would submit a response today as the Supreme Court hears petitions to put the ex-army chief on trial. His deeds “constitute an act of high treason,” said Sharif, who was elected in May for a record third term, 14 years after Musharraf ousted him in a military coup.
Musharraf is facing charges in several cases, including subverting the constitution with his emergency decree six years ago and over the deaths of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and a separatist leader. Pakistani law requires the federal government to register a complaint against the accused to proceed with a treason charge.
Musharraf returned to Pakistan in March after more than four years living in self-imposed exile as he bid to contest the May 11 general election. He was arrested in Islamabad in April a day after fleeing a court where judges had revoked a bail agreement secured before Musharraf landed in Pakistan. Election officials barred him from participating in the poll.
“The Nawaz Sharif government is demonstrating recklessness in its intention to pursue unwarranted treason charges against the former president Musharraf,” Raza Bokhari, his spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. “The emergency was proclaimed on the request of the government of Pakistan, both at the federal and provincial level” with the consent of the then prime minister and army commanders, Bokhari said in the statement.
The general removed Sharif in a 1999 bloodless coup after a dispute over an occupation of Indian-controlled territory in Kashmir. He left office in 2008 as parliament threatened to bring impeachment charges against him.