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.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs