Parl can charge Mush for treason: Pak CJ

Pak Chief Justice has observed that Musharraf can be tried for "high treason" by Parliament.

Updated: Jul 31, 2009, 00:35 AM IST

Islamabad: As Pakistan`s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf defied summons and failed to show up
before the country`s highest court for the second day on Thursday,
Chief Justice Iftikhar M Chaudhary has observed that the
ex-President can be tried for "high treason" by Parliament.

The Chief Justice also observed that the Parliament
can also annul all ordinances issued post-emergency imposed by

But, Chaudhary, who himself was the victim of more
than 60 Judges sacked by the former army chief, however,
turned down a plea to launch a treason case against Musharraf.

The Musharraf case has become high-profile at a time
when Pakistani political establishment is struggling to
contain an armed insurgency by Taliban and rift between
political parties over these issues.

The Supreme Court has summoned the former President to
explain his decision to impose the emergency in 2007 and
sacking of more than 60 judges.

Justice Chaudhary was responding to the main
petitioner Hamid Khan, former president of the Supreme Court
bar association, who pleaded that the apex court can initiate
proceedings against Musharraf for high treason for his defying
the court summon.

The Chief Justice while observing that the court
cannot sentence anyone in the case, declared the steps taken
on November 3, 2007, as "unconstitutional".

Chaudhary said as many as 41 steps taken by Musharraf
after imposing the emergency were "unconstitutional".

The Chief Justice had a dig at the democratic
government saying that it had waited for more than a
year-and-half to cancel these "unconstitutional" steps.

Another judge of the 14-member bench Justice Shahid
Siddiqui concurred with the Chief Justice, saying that the
trial of Musharraf was upto Parliament and nation.

The observation of Chaudhary could have allayed
Musharraf, whose legal aides had expressed fears that the
Pakistan Supreme Court could charge the former ruler for high
treason for not appearing before it to explain his decisions.

Malik Qayyum, who was attorney-general under Musharraf
regime and has often advised him on the legal issues, had
said, "it (Supreme Court) can initiate high treason
proceedings against Musharraf on its own."

Musharraf is presently staying in London.

Bureau Report