ISLAMABAD: Moving one step closer to putting former president General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf on trial for treason, the Pakistan government has appointed a four-member committee to investigate him for subverting the Constitution.
Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told the National Assembly on Thursday that a four-member committee of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) comprising Muhammad Khalid Qureshi, Muhammad Azam Khan, Hussain Asghar and Maqsoodul Hassan had been constituted to probe treason charges against the former president.
The minister said the investigating team comprising two directors and two additional directors-general of the FIA would complete its investigation and submit a report to the government as early as possible. He said the committee would hold meetings with Musharraf on a weekly basis.
Responding to points raised by different members, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the present government took a clear stance on November 3, 2007 acts of the former president and also took the National Assembly into confidence on the matter.
The interior minister said that according to the judgement of a 14-member bench of the Supreme Court, only one person was responsible for the November 3, 2007 acts. He regretted that Musharraf was now pushing the institution of army into the whole affair.
“We have all the respect for Pakistan Army whose personnel are rendering great sacrifices in the war against terrorism. There will be no blot on the face and image of Pakistan Army due to the initiation of inquiry against Pervez Musharraf,” he said.
An opposition member, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who is a senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), said Article 6 of the Constitution should be applicable on everyone from October 1999 onwards. He said that applying the law only to the former dictator’s November 2007 actions was tantamount to adopting double standards.
The PPP leader said his party had supported Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s announcement to try Musharraf in the high treason case and it was for the first time in the country’s history that the government moved the court on Article 6. He said that justice should be served and accountability carried out across the board.
Another opposition member of the National Assembly, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, who heads his own Awami Muslim League, said that Article 6 should be applicable to all who committed treason since 1956.
On the other hand, the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing in the treason case against Musharraf for an indefinite period to hold consultations over setting up of a special court for hearing the case. The apex court rejected a plea to order the formal arrest of Musharraf citing that no formal charges against the former president had been put before the court.
Earlier, Attorney General Munir A Malik submitted the government’s line of action in the case which said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had ordered the FIA to conduct an inquiry into the actions of Musharraf on November 3, 2007, the day when he held the constitution in abeyance and imposed emergency in the country, sacking dozens of judges of superior courts.
Later, the bench headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja adjourned the hearing until further notice to consult Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry over the constitution of a special court to hear the treason case.