ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan prime minister has dropped what is being called the strongest hint to submit a written request to the top court of the country seeking trial of former military ruler General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf under Article 6 of the Constitution for treason.
The former president may face a possible death penalty or life imprisonment if convicted.
Addressing the National Assembly on Monday, Sharif said the former president had committed treason by abrogating the Constitution and he should be tried under the law. Moreover, he said, Musharraf would be tried for imposing a state of emergency in the country in 2007, also suspending the Constitution.
Attorney General Munir A Malik submitted his response to the Supreme Court, stating that the procedure to try Musharraf under Article 6 of the Constitution has begun on Monday.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah welcomed the prime minister’s speech and said the pictures of all past dictators should be removed from the Parliament premises.
The Supreme Court had earlier asked the government to clarify its position on the petitions urging the court to try the former dictator under Article 6 of the Constitution.
According to media reports, Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch also endorsed the federal government’s decision to try Musharraf for treason. Speaking to media representatives in Quetta after the Balochistan Assembly session on Monday, Dr Malik Baloch said Prime Minister Sharif deserved to be appreciated for announcing the trial of the former military ruler.
“Musharraf must be tried for violating the constitution,” he demanded. “Punishment to Musharraf will close the path of dictatorship once and for all. Musharraf’s arrest and punishment remained a longstanding demand of people of Balochistan. Musharraf ignited fire in Balochistan,” he added.
Pakistani stocks dipped sharply on Monday as Sharif told the Parliament of his cabinet’s plan to initiate a high treason case against Musharraf. “Musharraf will have to answer for his guilt before the court,” Sharif told the National Assembly.
News of the prospective trial jolted already nervous investors concerned about short-term political stability, and sent the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark share index plunging by three percent.
The KSE-100 index closed 650.27 points lower at 21,048.08, just slightly above the psychological level of 21,000 points. The index might have fallen more if the KSE had not suspended trading in major shares that had fallen five percent.
“Considering the enormity of the government decision, some investors feared the market could crash,” said securities analyst Khurram Shahzad of Arif Habib Group, according to media reports.
The KSE-30 index closed 506 points lower to close at 16332.14 points while the All-Shares index dropped by 431.66 points. Out of total 380 active scrips, 319 shed value.