Pak leader urges caution on treason charge against Musharraf



Islamabad: The charge of treason levelled against former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf should be handled with caution as it could have consequences that may be difficult to control, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said on Sunday.

Hussain, who served as premier during Musharraf's regime, urged everyone concerned to "avoid taking any steps whose consequences they would not be able to control afterwards".

This was a sensitive issue that could have wider repercussions, he said.

"When the election campaign is in full swing, this is certainly not the time for taking such hasty steps as it would be detrimental to the national interest and the interests of democracy," Hussain said during an interaction with reporters.

Pakistan was passing through a critical juncture and there is a need for a "forward-looking approach" to resolve fundamental problems facing the people rather than being "hostage to the past", he said.

Hussain said he had always spoken against the "politics of revenge and victimisation" and any attempt to humiliate either an individual or an institution would be "counter-productive and dangerous".

He claimed this was not simply a "matter pertaining to the person of Pervez Musharraf but it could also open up a Pandora's Box".

"We should all rise above our personal and partisan interests to take the broader interests of the people as a whole, otherwise there will be no winners and everybody will be losers," said Hussain, whose party was a key member of the outgoing government led by the Pakistan People's Party.

Several lawyers have petitioned the Supreme Court to put 69-year-old Musharraf on trial for treason for imposing emergency in 2007.

At the time, a government led by the PML-Q was in power.

Musharraf was arrested last week after the Islamabad High Court revoked his bail in a case related to the detention of over 60 judges during the emergency.

In a related development, Musharraf's lawyer Ahmad Raza Kasuri told a news conference that the former military ruler could be put on trial but others who backed him or took unconstitutional steps should also face the same action.

He claimed Musharraf's case had created "disquiet" among serving and retired military officers.

Several military officers had complained to him about the "injustice" done to Musharraf, Kasuri said.

Kasuri further claimed that about 150 judges had backed dictators in the past and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif too had violated the Constitution by collaborating with military ruler Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s.

PTI