Pak forms panel to probe high treason case against Musharraf

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Pakistan has formed a high-level panel to probe the high treason case against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for imposing emergency rule in 2007, the government said today.

69-year-old Musharraf, who faces high treason charges for abrogating the constitution during his 1999-2008 rule, had imposed emergency rule in November 2007, and suspended the constitution.

He had also placed dozens of top judges under house arrest who had refused to take oath under his Provisional Constitutional Order.

Interior minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan told the National Assembly that a four-member committee comprising senior officials of the Federal Investigation Agency will probe the case.

Nisar said the committee will keep the interior ministry informed about its investigation and submit its report within the shortest possible time.

Earlier, the Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on petitions, seeking high treason proceedings against Musharraf.

The verdict will be announced on an appropriate time.

Attorney general Munir Malik informed the Supreme Court that an investigation team will probe the emergency promulgated by Musharraf and the Prime Minister has issued necessary directives to the interior secretary about the case proceedings.

The attorney general said that a commission will also be constituted to oversee the entire investigation process.

He said, a timeframe will also be set to complete the hearing of the case.

He said that the commitment of the government in this regard is on the record of the court.

Musharraf, currently under house arrest, has been facing a slew of charges, apart from the proclamation of emergency in 2007.

He also faces charges in several high-profile cases, including the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto and the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti in 2006.

Compounding his legal woes, Pakistani investigators on Tuesday included Musharraf in the list of main accused who conspired to assassinate Bhutto.

Responding to points raised by different members in the National Assembly today‚ the interior minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan said the government has taken a clear stance on acts of Musharraf and also took the House into confidence on the matter.

He said that Musharraf was now dragging the institution of army into the whole affair.

He‚ however‚ said, “We have all the respect for Pakistan Army whose personnel are rendering great sacrifices in the war against terrorism.”

He said, “There would be no blot on the face and image of Pakistan Army due to the initiation of inquiry against Musharraf.”

Reacting to the statement of the interior minister‚ senior opposition leader of PPP, Amin Fahim said his party had supported Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s announcement to try Musharraf in the high treason case.

He said it is for the first time in the country’s history that the government has moved the court on Article 6 of the constitution, which calls for high treason trial of all those who abrogate the constitution.

He said justice should be done and accountability should be carried out across the board.

Speaking on a point of order‚ chief of Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-F Maulana Fazlur Rehman voiced concerns over recent wave of terrorism in the country.

He said practical steps are required to address the root causes of terrorism and extremism.

He said the federal government should formulate a policy on the issue after taking on board the provincial governments.

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