Pakistan court orders co-defendants be added to case against ex-president News
Pakistan court orders co-defendants be added to case against ex-president

[JURIST] Pakistan’s Federal Shariat Court [official website] has ordered that Pakistan’s government amend or re-file its complaint against former president Pervez Musharraf [JURIST news archive] for treason to include the former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, law minister Zahid Hamid and judge Abdul Hameed Dogar as co-defendants. In 2007 during Musharraf’s reign as president, he issued an emergency order suspending the constitution and parliament [Al Jazeera report], and fired judges who ruled his actions to be unconstitutional. Musharraf was indicted on charges of high treason [JURIST report] in March for his role in suspending the constitution. In its order the court expressed particular concern with the failure of the Federal Investigation Agency [official website] to investigate other possible defendants [Express Tribune report] when evidence uncovered during the course of the investigation connected others to the emergency action. The prosecution has expressed an intention to appeal the order, citing the already lengthy delays in Musharraf’s trial.

In June Pakistan’s Sindh High Court lifted a travel ban [JURIST report] that had prevented Musharraf from leaving the country. If convicted for treason, the former leader could face the death penalty. Musharraf pleaded not guilty to each of the charges against him, including unlawfully suspending the constitution, firing Pakistan’s chief justice and instituting emergency rule in 2007. Musharraf called the charges politically motivated, maintained that the country had prospered under his 2001-2008 rule and insisted that his declaration of a state of emergency was not unconstitutional. Also ongoing are proceedings related to Musharraf’s involvement in the 2007 Red Mosque killings and the death of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive].