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Pakistan PM announces plans to try former military ruler for treason

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] said Monday that the government plans to put Pervez Musharraf [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on trial for treason. Sharif did not officially declare that the government was filing charges [AP report], stating that the federal government would first consult with other political parties "so that the collective will and wisdom of the people of Pakistan is duly reflected" regarding Musharraf. Musharraf is alleged to have committed treason when he ousted [BBC backgrounder] the democratically-elected Sharif in 1999 when he was serving as an Army chief and suspended the constitution [AP report] in 2007 after declaring a state of emergency. Musharraf can only be tried for treason if the federal government presses charges against him.

Musharraf has recently been the subject of a host of legal troubles due to alleged unconstitutional and illegal actions that took place after he staged a military coup in 1999. Earlier this month a Pakistani court granted Musharraf bail [JURIST report] in the case of his 2007 detention of senior judges. Last month a Pakistani anti-terrorism court (ATC) refused to grant Musharraf bail [JURIST report] for his firing of senior judges. In April the Peshawar High Court of Pakistan banned [JURIST report] him from running for public office for the rest of his life and extended his house arrest during the ongoing trial regarding the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto [JURIST news archive]. In March Human Rights Watch urged Pakistan [JURIST report] to hold Musharraf accountable for his alleged human rights violations upon his return to the country. Musharraf's return to Pakistan came after a four-year self-imposed exile.

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