Pakistan high court refuses Musharraf treason charges petition

[JURIST] The registrar of the Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] on Thursday rejected a petition seeking treason charges against former president Pervez Musharraf [official profile; JURIST news archive], finding that the applicant lacked standing and that the Supreme Court was not the appropriate forum for such a petition. The petition [Dawn report] was filed by Senator Syed Zafar Ali Shah of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) [party website], which is led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif [JURIST news archive]. However, on the same day that Shah filed the petition, the PML-N said that the party's consolidated view was that any petition should be brought in parliament [Daily Times report] and not in the high court. Last week, PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan called for treason charges during a parliamentary session, but Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani [BBC profile] said that the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) [party website] does not support treason charges [JURIST report] against Musharraf, making the requisite consensus resolution extremely unlikely.

Earlier this month, Pakistan's Awami National Party (ANP) [party website] said that it would support treason charges against Musharraf, one day after Pakistani police filed charges [JURIST reports] against Musharraf alleging that he illegally detained members of the judiciary after declaring emergency rule [proclamation, PDF] in November 2007. Last month, the Supreme Court declared [judgment, PDF; JURIST report] that Musharraf's declaration of emergency rule violated the Constitution of Pakistan [text]. Musharraf resigned from office [JURIST report] last August in order to avoid impeachment proceedings by the country's parliament. Earlier that month, the country's coalition government said that it would push to impeach Musharraf because he had given a "clear commitment" to step down from office after his party was defeated in parliamentary elections [JURIST reports]. In June 2008, Sharif called for Musharraf to be tried for treason [JURIST report], labeling him a traitor disloyal to Pakistan and saying he should be punished for the "damage" that he had done to the country in the years since he led a military coup [BBC backgrounder] and unseated Sharif in 1999.



 

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