Pervez Musharraf guilty of high treason, probe agency tells Pak court

ISLAMABAD (TIP): In a setback to Pakistan’s former president Pervez Musharraf, an investigation has concluded that the ex-military ruler imposed the 2007 emergency as army chief and was guilty of violating the constitution, the special court hearing his treason trial was told on Sept 11. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) which probed the case informed the court that 71-year-old Musharraf must be held accountable for high treason.

A three-member bench headed by justice Faisal Arab heard Musharraf’s treason case in the Federal shariat court building. Khalid Qureshi, head of the FIA probe team who appeared in court as the prosecution witness, also said that Musharraf had issued the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) affidavit as president on November 3, 2007. The PCO is an emergency and extraconstitutional order that suspends either wholly or partially, the constitution of Pakistan.

Qureshi added that the FIA probe team had reached the conclusion that Musharraf was guilty of violating the constitution by suspending it. He informed the court that he had questioned Musharraf at his Chak Shahzad farmhouse on December 6, 2013 with Hussain Asghar another member of the FIA team. Qureshi said he showed Musharraf the November 3, 2007 emergency order, PCO and documents for the removal of judges which had his (Musharraf’s) signatures.

According to Qureshi, Musharraf refused to give his statement on these documents. He told the court that after hearing statements of numerous institutions, personalities and reviewing evidence, the probe team had come to the conclusion that Musharraf was responsible for these actions and should be held accountable. Musharraf was charged on March 31 for subverting the constitution by imposing emergency. In June, Pakistan’s supreme court overturned a high court ruling to lift a travel ban slapped on Musharraf last year.

Musharraf, who returned to Pakistan in March last year ahead of the general election ending his over four-year self-imposed exile, has faced multiple trials including the one under the high-treason act for which he was placed under house arrest and barred from travelling abroad. He is also facing trial in the murder cases of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto; Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and Red Mosque cleric Abdul Rasheed Ghazi.

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