Pakistan: co-defendants added to Musharraf case
Pakistan's Federal Shariat Court has ordered that the government amend or re-file its complaint against former president Pervez Musharraf for treason to include the former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, law minister Zahid Hamid and judge Abdul Hameed Dogar as co-defendants. In 2007 during Musharraf's reign as president, he issued an emergency order suspending the constitution and parliament, and fired judges who ruled his actions to be unconstitutional. Musharraf was indicted on charges of high treason in March for his role in suspending the constitution. In its order the court expressed particular concern with the failure of the Federal Investigation Agency to investigate other possible defendants, when evidence uncovered during the course of the investigation connected others to the emergency action. The prosecution has expressed an intention to appeal the order, citing the already lengthy delays in Musharraf's trial.
In June Pakistan's Sindh High Court lifted a travel ban that had prevented Musharraf from leaving the country. If convicted for treason, the former leader could face the death penalty. Musharraf pleaded not guilty to each of the charges against him, including unlawfully suspending the constitution, firing Pakistan's chief justice and instituting emergency rule in 2007. Musharraf called the charges politically motivated, maintained that the country had prospered under his 2001-2008 rule and insisted that his declaration of a state of emergency was not unconstitutional. Also ongoing are proceedings related to Musharraf's involvement in the 2007 Red Mosque killings and the death of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
From Jurist, Nov. 21. Used with permission.