Pak Govt in quandary over minister's inclusion in treason case

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday found himself in an unsavoury situation after a court ordered his government to include a senior minister of his Cabinet as an alleged co-conspirator in the treason case against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

PTI| Updated: Nov 21, 2014, 23:04 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday found himself in an unsavoury situation after a court ordered his government to include a senior minister of his Cabinet as an alleged co-conspirator in the treason case against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

Science and Technology Minister Zahid Hamid, who was Law Minister when Musharraf imposed emergency in 2007, was today nominated by a court along with former prime minister Shaukat Aziz and former chief justice Abdul Hameed Dogar for trial in the treason case slapped on the former military ruler.

Hamid is considered a key person having a trove of information leading to suspension of the Constitution for which the former president was put on trial in December 2013.

Hamid had shifted sides after the downfall of Musharraf in 2008 by joining Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, becoming a minister in 2013.

According to a government official, Hamid sent his resignation to Sharif after the court verdict.

State-run PTV, however, quoted Finance Minister Ishaq Dar as saying that the resignation has not been accepted and a final decision will be made after the party's consultation.

The former Pakistani dictator had repeatedly asked the three-member special tribunal that he was not alone to decide the imposition of emergency in 2007 for which he is facing treason charges.

The court announced that Musharraf's request to include alleged co-conspirators was partially accepted with a majority vote.

Musharraf had asked the court to include cabinet minister, bureaucrats and senior military official in the trial.

A senior government official said on anonymity that the court's decision to expand the list of persons involved in the case has diluted the entire case.

"Musharraf is emerging stronger on moral grounds and now pressure will mount on the government to probe more people for the trial," he said.

Sharif had initially appointed Hamid as the Law Minister and shifted his portfolio after the start of the trial against Musharraf.