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Former Pak president Musharraf to be charged for high treason

English.news.cn   2013-12-24 15:52:45            
 • A special court in Pakistan will formally frame charges of high treason against Pervez Musharraf.
 • The court was scheduled to begin trial of Musharraf on Tuesday for abrogating the constitution.
 • However, the former President could not appear before the judges over security threats.

 

ISLAMABAD, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- A special court in Pakistan will formally frame charges of high treason against former military President, Pervez Musharraf, on January 1, 2014,court officials said on Tuesday.

The court was scheduled to begin trial of Musharraf on Tuesday for abrogating the constitution. However, the former President could not appear before the judges over security threats.

The three-member special court had summoned Musharraf to appear on the first day of the trial.

Police said they found a five-kilo bomb and pistols on Musharraf's route to the court.

Musharraf's defence lawyer, Mansoor Ali Khan, told the court that his client could not appear because of threats to his life.

The head of the three-member court, Justice Faisal Arab, accepted the plea and asked Musharraf's lawyers to file a written request about security threats.

The government's lawyers argued that Musharraf could not be absolved of personal appearance because of the nature of the case.

Musharraf's lawyers sough a two-week adjournment, however, the court adjourned the hearing for a week, until January 1. The court also ordered security arrangements to Musharraf on the next hearing.

The court said that the former military president will be formally charge-sheeted on the next hearing.

It is the first case in Pakistan's 66-year history that a former military ruler faces high treason trial.

Musharraf has been charged for suspending the constitution when he had imposed emergency in November 2007. Legal experts say the charges carry death penalty or life imprisonment.

Musharraf's lawyers had tried to stop Tuesday's trial on the plea that the special court has no power to try a former army chief and that a military court can try him under the army act.

The Islamabad High Court, however, rejected the petition on Monday that removed all obstacles in the way of Musharraf's trial.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had announced in June to initiate the high treason case against the former military president for suspension of the constitution, the decision had evoked mixed reaction as critics were of the view that Pakistan faces several serious challenges and cannot afford such trial.

Musharraf had taken over in a bloodless coup when he had dismissed the government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

The 69-year-old former army chief, currently lives in his farmhouse in Islamabad after getting bails in three high profile cases including the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf, who had resigned in 2008 and had gone into exile, returned to Pakistan in March this year to take part in parliamentary elections. However, a court disqualified him from standing in the May elections.

Related:

News Analysis: Musharraf's high treason trial stirs controversy in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Pakistani government's decision to initiate treason proceedings against former military president Pervez Musharraf has stirred up a controversy as some critics have viewed the move as a means to divert attention from serious domestic problems.

The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has taken the decision amid rumors that Musharraf would be allowed to leave the country under a deal.  Full story

Editor: Lu Hui
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