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Pakistan politicians call for Musharraf treason charges

[JURIST] Pakistan's Awami National Party (ANP) [party website] will support Article 6 [text] treason charges against former president Pervez Musharraf [official profile; JURIST news archive], according to a Thursday Daily Times report. Although it is part of the ruling coalition government of President Asif Ali Zardari [official website], ANP Vice President Haji Adeel said that the decision to propose charges against the former military ruler should be made by more prominent political parties. Members of Zardari's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) [party website] also announced Thursday that they support [Xinhua report] pursuing treason charges, saying that the party has never supported dictators, and that such a prosecution would deter future impositions of martial law. Sir Mark Lyall Grant [official profile], former High Commissioner to Pakistan from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office [official website], reportedly met with former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) [party website] leader Nawaz Sharif [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to urge him not to pursue legal action [Telegraph report] against Musharraf, although Sharif remains supportive of the measure.

On Wednesday, Pakistani police filed charges [JURIST report] against Musharraf alleging that he illegally detained members of the judiciary after declaring emergency rule [proclamation, PDF] in November 2007. Earlier this week, a district court in Islamabad directed [JURIST report] police to open an investigation into the allegations. Last month, the Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] declared [judgment, PDF] 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, former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif [JURIST news archive] 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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