Musharraf faces exile – to avoid a trial for treason
Lawyers dance in celebration outside Karachi Bar Association
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf faces an extended exile, possibly in Britain, following a court ruling that has paved the way for a possible – although unlikely – treason prosecution.
Celebrating lawyers danced on the steps of the supreme court after a 14-judge bench ruled that Musharraf acted illegally when he suspended the constitution and imposed a six-week period of emergency rule on 3 November 2007. At the time, the rule was seen as a gambit by Musharraf to strengthen his grip on power. After a long struggle, he was forced from office a year ago.
The court ruling was delivered by chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, whose attempted removal by Musharraf in March 2007 sparked a protest movement that eventually led to the general’s downfall…
Neither Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup, nor his lawyers attended the court hearing. The retired general left Pakistan for Britain two months ago, reportedly at the urging of the army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, who wanted to remove all political distractions as the army fought the Taliban along the Afghan border…
Talat Masood, a retired general and former Musharraf confidante, said it was unlikely he would return to Pakistan soon. “He will stay away and the army will advise him to stay away,” he said…”
According to the ruling, all judges who swore allegiance to Musharraf will now be sacked. Also, some 37 laws passed during the emergency period will be subject to review by parliament.
“It is open to the courts to condone all or any of them,” said Saeed-uz-Zaman, a former chief justice, speaking on Dawn television.
Does any of this sound like a potential scenario to be played out in the United States? Or the U.K.?
Any politicians and/or judges with the backbone to set precedents that include prosecution for suspending the constitution?