News / Asia

Musharraf Pleads Not Guilty on Treason Charges

A supporter holds a picture of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, during a protest with others at the Special Court where Musharraf will attend his trial in Islamabad, Feb. 18, 2014.
A supporter holds a picture of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, during a protest with others at the Special Court where Musharraf will attend his trial in Islamabad, Feb. 18, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
A special court in Pakistan on Monday indicted former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on five counts of high treason.

Musharraf appeared before a three-member panel of judges amid tight security and pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
 
The trial is being hailed as unprecedented in a country where the powerful military has staged three coups and its officers until now have enjoyed de facto immunity from prosecution in civilian courts.

Musharraf appeared before a three-member panel of judges amid tight security and pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
 
This was only his second court appearance since the legal proceedings began three months ago.  Musharraf has mostly remained under treatment in a military hospital near Islamabad. Defense attorneys have cited either security or health reasons for his previous absences, while critics have accused him of engaging in delaying tactics to obstruct the court.
 
“He (Musharraf) appeared before the court today. The formal charges were framed against him and he denied the charges. He stated he does not plead guilty,”
Prosecution attorney Sardar Asmatullah told reporters following Monday’s proceedings.

During the hearing, Musharraf declared he is not a traitor and highlighted the achievements he said Pakistan made during his nearly decade-long rule. The former president reiterated that he is prepared to face trial and defend his actions that he says were approved by the prime minister and Cabinet at the time.
 
Observers, however, say the former general's indictment on charges of treason marks a milestone for Pakistan’s political and legal history.

“It is unprecedented, obviously, to begin to seek some accountability, to hold to justice anybody at such a senior level in the military," noted Sam Zarifi, Asia Director for the International Commission of Jurists, or ICJ. "So potentially it is a very significant step forward and, of course, a lot now depends on how the trial itself proceeds.”

Zarifi said this is an opportunity for Pakistan’s judiciary to demonstrate that no one is above the law, and that it must ensure the trial fully complies with international standards.

“So, this is a step forward for the [Pakistan]courts to show exactly what a proper trial looks like and what kind processes defendants is entitled to,” he added.

Musharraf seized power in a military coup in 1999 by ousting then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and later forcing him into exile. The military leader stepped down in 2008 to avoid impeachment and went into self-imposed exile a few months later.
 
He returned to Pakistan about a year ago to try to revive his political carrier but was barred from taking part in elections last May that returned Mr. Sharif to power for a third time. Musharraf’s lawyers accuse the prime minister of carrying out a political vendetta.

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Comments
     
by: powerandpreivilege from: USA
March 31, 2014 5:47 PM
Musharraf is a military general who is unlikely to understand democracy and freedom of speech [too bad we supported him]. Furthermore, to a military man, peace must seem like AN ALIEN CONCEPT. What the USA needs is to support a NON-MILITARY regime in Pakistan that is not beholden to ISI. This is in the best interest of all parties in a global economy. War [and the military-industrial complex] has outlived its usefulness. The new battle cry is ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE.
In Response

by: ExIndianPakistani from: usa
April 01, 2014 8:01 AM
Is Nawaz not breaching the constitution by negotiating with band Taliban organization. Why not he is being treated like general?
In Response

by: 2paxxs from: Canada
April 01, 2014 12:13 AM
It seems you know zip Nada about general. It was general who introduced freedom of speech in Pakistan. Allowed dozens of private TV channels who were critical of him.

by: zaman from: london
March 31, 2014 11:17 AM
Musharraf Trial The Trial of Butto was a judicial Murder Trial of Musharaf is a black spot on Pakistan’s judiciary, if all the abettors are not also trailed. Pakistan’s judiciary is defending the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status Debating honour among Thief’s. Politicians are Creating facts to fit the truth, in talk shows In Pakistan Laws grind the poor where rich rule the law

The Society which is institutionally corrupt, and exploit’s religion and politics for business and power Were there is no difference between HARAM AND HALAL Where End justify the means that society becomes a Black Spot on the Planet Earth and is treated as such by the rest of the world; Unfortunately Pakistan has become that Country.

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