Treason case: Musharraf not to be tried in military court


ISLAMABAD: The special court constituted to try former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf ruled on Friday that the treason trial of the former president would not take place in a military court and has summoned him before it on March 11. During today’s hearing, the bench announced its decision, which had been reserved earlier, of rejecting Musharraf’s plea that had challenged the jurisdiction of the special court and had sought to hold the treason trial at a military court. “This application is dismissed,” Judge Faisal Arab said at the end of today’s hearing. The three-judge bench ruled that he was no longer in the army and that high treason can be tried exclusively in a special court.

“This decision to try Musharraf in a civilian court is factually wrong. The facts have been twisted,” Musharraf’s lawyer Ahmad Raza Kasuri told reporters afterwards.

Earlier on Feb 18, Musharraf finally appeared before the special court and was allowed to leave without treason charges having been framed against him.

The defence team had argued that Gen Musharraf should be tried by a military court and not the special court.

The three-judge court, headed by Justice Faisal Arab of the Sindh High Court, had deferred the framing of charges and said these would be read out once the court announced its judgment on Friday (today) on whether or not the special court has the jurisdiction to try the retired general for treason.

Musharraf had filed three applications that challenged the appointment of the head of the prosecution team, the establishment and the jurisdiction of the special court.

His team has said more than once that unless the jurisdiction of the court was decided, Gen Musharraf could not be indicted.

The 70-year-old is facing treason charges, which can carry the death penalty, over his imposition of a state of emergency in 2007 while he was president.

The former general has been in a military hospital since falling ill with heart trouble while travelling to court on Jan 2.