Musharraf to be tried for treason under Article 6: PM Nawaz
24 June, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif dropped the strongest hint on Monday to file a written request before the Supreme Court to try former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for treason under Article 6 of the Constitution.
Speaking in National Assembly, Prime Minister Nawaz stated that he is under oath to protect, preserve and defend the constitution and it is implicit in his oath that his government ensures that people guilty of acts under Article 6 of the constitution are brought to justice. "Musharraf will have to answer for his guilt before the court," Nawaz said in the Lower House of parliament. The maximum penalty for treason is death.
Amidst desk thumping by the treasury and opposition benches, Nawaz noted that in line with the Supreme Court's decision in the Sindh High Court Bar Associations' case, the federal government firmly subscribed to the view that holding in abeyance of the constitution on November 3, 2007 constituted an act of high treason under Article 6.
The prime minister iterated that the federal government is fully in line with the unanimous resolution passed by the Senate at a time when his party was in opposition. "Now that my party is in government and is committed to follow the high standards of rule of law, it wishes to ensure that further steps required to be taken by it are not blurred under the cloud of 'Victor's Justice'," he proclaimed. Nawaz said that he has borne the brunt of Musharraf's brazen coup, however, he assured the court and people that he will act according to the highest standards of justice and follow the due process of law.
Given the primacy of the issue in the struggle for upholding the spirit of the constitution, he added that the federal government would proceed in accordance with the law. Nawaz assured that he would take the political forces into confidence through consultative process so that collective will and wisdom of people of the country is duly reflected in further progress in this regard.
The prime minister said that Pervez Musharraf will be held accountable for subverting the constitution, stopping judges of higher judiciary from working through illegal orders and taking unconstitutional steps of imposing emergency on November 3, 2007. He recalled that there has been a tug of war between democracy and dictatorship and noted that it is heartening that the political parties and intellectuals did not let the flag of democracy fall.
Nawaz also referred to the attempts to indemnify Musharraf's act of November 3, 2007 and told the assembly that credit goes to the last parliament that it did not indemnify his act. "We were pressurised. But we did not surrender to such pressure and refused to indemnify this act," Nawaz said. He said that before submitting the reply in the Supreme Court in this case, he thought it better to first take on board parliament on this step which, he notes, is representative of the people of the country.
Prime Minister Nawaz also attributed multiple problems facing the country to the violation of the constitution in the past. "The country was created through democracy and its survival lies in democratic process that would continue," he asserted while assuring the House that the government would go ahead in this case as per the law and would take the people into confidence over whatever step it takes in this regard.