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Pakistan set to put former President Musharraf on trial for treason

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is to be put on trial on allegations of treason. The charges are in connection with his decision six years ago to impose military rule in the country.

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Pakistan to try Musharraf for treason

Pakistan's interior minister, Chaudry Nisar Ali Kahn, told a news conference in Islamabad on Sunday, that the government planned to send a letter to the Supreme Court on Monday, asking it to bring treason charges against the former president.

"Following the judgement of the Supreme Court and a report submitted by an inquiry committee, it has been decided to start proceedings against General Pervez Musharraf under Article 6 [high treason] of the Constitution," Kahn said.

"It is happening for the first time in the history of Pakistan and the decision has been taken in the national interest," he added.

The accusation against Musharraf stems from his decision on November 3, 2007 to declare a state of emergency. He also suspended the country's constitution and parliament, before sacking top judges including the chief justice of the Supreme Court. This came shortly before Pakistan's Supreme Court had been due to hand down a decision on the legality of his re-election as president.

"The constitution was ruined and violated," Khan said. "The judiciary was humiliated. Judges were manhandled physically, confined along with family and children."

The interior minister also denied that the government's decision was a personal vendetta by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whom General Musharraf, as head of the army, had toppled in 1999.

Musharraf is already facing three other criminal cases stemming from his nine years in office as president from 1999-2008, including one relating to the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

Musharraf left Pakistan following the restoration to democracy in 2008, but returned to the country earlier this year for the general election, which he was subsequently barred from contesting.

He was freed from house arrest earlier this month after receiving bail in the other cases against him. The former president is still barred from leaving the country.

pfd/msh (AP, AFP)

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