Lahore: Former Pakistani premier Yousuf Raza Gilani has demanded that Pakistani judges who endorsed the October 1999 coup, led by former army chief Pervez Musharraf, should also be charged with treason.
Gilani, a senior leader of the Pakistan People's Party, made the demand after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday announced that his government would put Musharraf on trial for high treason for violating the Constitution twice.
In May 2000, a 12-judge bench of the Supreme Court had unanimously validated the October 1999 coup and granted Musharraf executive and legislative authority for three years. Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was one of the members of this bench.
Without naming any member of the current judiciary, Gilani said, "Those who had validated the coup of Musharraf should also be tried for violating Article 6 of the Constitution." Article 6 covers high treason. Gilani dared to raise an issue that is hardly spoken about by other Pakistani politicians.
Last year, a bench led by Chief Justice Chaudhry had disqualified Gilani as premier after he refused to reopen graft cases against his boss, President Asif Ali Zardari.
"The PML-N today (Monday) has announced it will proceed against Musharraf under Article 6 of the Constitution for imposing emergency in November 2007. Why should he not be tried for his coup in 1999 along with those who had endorsed it?" asked Gilani.
Musharraf has been detained at his farmhouse at Chak Shahzad in Islamabad. The villa has been declared a sub-jail and he is facing charges for imposing emergency in 2007, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in 2007 and the killing of Baloch leader Akbar Bugti in a 2006 military operation.
The former premier further said, "The Constitution does not allow any degree of transgression, whatsoever, in the domain of one institution by other institution or institutions. The authors of the Constitution were aware of the ramifications, therefore they underscored the importance of the observance of the trichotomy of power in absolute terms."
Gilani said parliament is supreme because it reflects the will of the people and is a symbol of their empowerment, and "it is the mother of all institutions and repository of all powers".
He said successive dictators and their cohorts had played havoc with the collective destiny of the country during the past 60 years. "The country cannot afford any more adventurism or fiddling with democracy," he said.