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Sharif Says Musharraf Should Be Tried For Treason

Pervez Musharraf

Pervez Musharraf

Pakistan's prime minister says former military ruler Pervez Musharraf should face trial for treason.

Addressing parliament on June 24, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accused Musharraf of violating the constitution by overthrowing Pakistan's elected government in 1999 and by sacking judges and imposing emergency rule in 2007.

"The federal government, in line with the Supreme Court's decision and the Sindh High Court Bar Association's case, firmly subscribes to the view that the holding in abeyance of the Constitution on November 3, 2007 constituted an act of high treason," Sharif said.

He told lawmakers that Musharraf will have to answer in court.

"The prime minister is under oath to protect, preserve, and defend the constitution, and it is implicit in his oath that his government ensures that persons guilty of acts under Article 6 [of the Pakistani Constitution] are brought to justice," Sharif said.

Sharif's comments were welcomed by the two main opposition parties.

Only the federal government may bring a treason charge to the Supreme Court.

Khursheed Shah, a senior leader of President Asif Ali Zardari's Pakistan Peoples Party, backed the government's move.

"There should also be some action contemplated against other dictators and their supporters, whether dead or alive," he said.

Musharraf, a retired general, returned to Pakistan from self-imposed exile in March and is under house arrest. He is fighting a series of cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule, which began with him ousting Sharif in a military coup.

The cases include the murder of a senior Baluch leader in 2006 and failure to prevent the killing of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007. Another case involves his role in ordering the detention of senior judges after imposing emergency rule in November 2007.

Musharraf maintains his innocence.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, BBC, dpa, and