The Pakistan government has rejected former dictator Pervez Musharraf’s request for security on returning to the country to face a special court trying him on treason charges, according to a media report. The Ministry of Defence has conveyed to the Dubai-based former president through his counsel that providing him security is not its job, the Dawn newspaper reported. In a letter written to Musharraf’s counsel Akhtar Shah, the ministry said “provision of security in the subject case does not fall under the purview of Ministry of Defence”, according to the report.
The 74-year-old retired Army general has been living in Dubai since last year when he was allowed to leave Pakistan on the pretext of medical treatment. He was indicted in March, 2014 on treason charges for imposing emergency in 2007 in the country which led to the confinement of a number of superior court judges in their houses and sacking of over 100 judges.
He has been declared “proclaimed offender” by courts in the treason and the Benazir Bhutto assassination cases. He is the first general to face trial for treason in Pakistan’s history and if convicted, he could be given life imprisonment or the death penalty.
An application was moved on behalf of Musharraf on March 13 that the former president be provided security by the ministry of defence on his return to Pakistan. “His team contends that he faces serious security threats,” it said. However, responding to a similar application, the Interior Ministry had earlier assured Musharraf of security and also sought his travel plan and details of stay in Pakistan. The details have not been shared with the interior ministry so far, the report said.
“We are still working on the details and will make the decision public once there is something final,” All Pakistan Muslim League leader Muhammad Amjad, a close aide of Musharraf, was quoted as saying by Dawn. On March 16, the special court hearing the treason case against Musharraf authorised the government to suspend his passport as well as his computerised national identity card. The court had also directed the interior ministry to approach the Interpol for the arrest of the former president.
On March 21, he convened a meeting of his aides in Dubai on to decide the future course of action but the meeting remained inconclusive. The Islamabad High Court had last month ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to investigate Musharraf over charges of accumulating assets beyond his known means of income.