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Pak govt refuses to put Musharraf on trial for treason

Islamabad, Apr 22, 2013 (PTI) 17:31 IST
 Pakistani paramilitary soldiers stand guard outside the residence of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf after a court has declared Musharraf's house a sub-jail in Islamabad on April 20, 2013. AFP
In a temporary relief to former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's interim government today refused to put him on trial for treason for violating the Constitution, saying such a move was not part of its mandate.

The caretaker administration, formed last month to conduct the May 11 general election, conveyed its position in a reply submitted to the Supreme Court.

Several lawyers have filed petitions seeking Musharraf's trial for treason and the apex court had asked the government to state its position on the issue. In its reply, the caretaker government refused to put Musharraf, 69, on trial for treason under Article 6 of the Constitution.

The government said considering, deliberating or commencing any legal proceedings under Article 6 will be a move that is not part of its mandate. The reply further said the government was busy providing security to candidates contesting the upcoming polls to the national and provincial assemblies.

An apex court bench headed by Justice Jawwad Khwaja, which is hearing the petitions against Musharraf, expressed its displeasure at the interim government's reply.

Khwaja observed that the court had been seeking an answer from the government for the past eight days and now the administration has said that it can do nothing. Khwaja further remarked that in the future, the interim government might even say that it cannot file an FIR against Musharraf.

The bench put off the case till tomorrow, when the judges will hear arguments by Musharraf's lawyers. In Pakistan only the state can initiate charges of treason, which can carry the death penalty.

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