Pakistan’s Supreme Court today directed the government to ensure that Pervez Musharraf does not leave the country as it began hearing several petitions seeking the former military ruler’s trial for treason for subverting the constitution and declaring emergency in 2007.
A two-judge bench led by Justice Jawad S Khwaja ordered the Interior Secretary to take steps to prevent Musharraf from travelling abroad. The bench issued the directive after hearing initial arguments on five petitions asking the apex court to direct the government to prosecute Musharraf under the High Treason (Punishment) Act of 1973.
The bench also issued notices to the government,Musharraf and other respondents to respond to the petitions and adjourned the case till tomorrow. The lawyers for the argued that the former military strongman had violated the Constitution by declaring an emergency in 2007 and should be put on trial for treason.
They pointed out that the Senate or upper house of parliament had passed a resolution in January 2012 that said Musharraf should be arrested on his return but the government had not acted on it.
The lawyers further argued that the government had failed to act on an earlier Supreme Court order that directed authorities take action against Musharraf for violating the Constitution. Talking to reporters after the hearing,the lawyers for the petitioners said that Musharraf should not be accorded “VIP protocol” as he is an accused in several cases.
They said the case against the former president in the Supreme Court would ensure that no one subverts the Constitution in future. They said the generals and other persons who backed Musharraf should also be held accountable.