Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf faces trial for treason
Pakistan's former military ruler could face death or life in jail if convicted
Pakistan announced yesterday it would put former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf on trial for treason, punishable by death or life imprisonment, for imposing emergency rule in 2007.
"Following the judgment of the Supreme Court and a report submitted by an inquiry committee, it has been decided to start proceedings against General Pervez Musharraf (for treason) under Article 6 of the Constitution," Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a live press conference televised.
"It is happening for the first time in the history of Pakistan and the decision has been taken in the national interest," Khan said.
The minister said the country's Chief Justice would today receive a letter from the government requesting the setting-up of a tribunal of three high court judges to start proceedings against Musharraf. The government would also announce a special prosecutor.
Musharraf is already facing four major criminal cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule, including one related to the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.
Last week he asked a court to let him leave the country to visit his sick mother in Dubai. The court was expected to rule on the application today.
There have been rumours in recent months that a deal would be reached for Musharraf to leave Pakistan without going through with his trials.
Khan said that three thrice-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government had come to power five months ago and it had never demonstrated any "revengeful" gesture towards Musharraf.
Musharraf overthrew the Sharif government in a bloodless military coup in October 1999, but a year later the Supreme Court validated the take over.
In November 2007 Musharraf imposed emergency rule, suspending the constitution and parliament and sacking top judges who declared his actions unconstitutional and illegal.
Musharraf technically became a free man this month when an Islamabad district court granted him bail over a deadly raid on a radical mosque in the capital in 2007.