Islamabad: In an interim relief to Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistan Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a plea to arrest the former president in a treason case and adjourned the next hearing till April 15. A two-judge bench led by Justice Jawad S Khwaja had issued summoned Musharraf after hearing preliminary arguments on five petitions seeking his trial for treason for subverting the constitution and declaring an emergency in 2007.
The bench had said Musharraf or his lawyer should appear in court to respond to the allegations. It had also ordered the Interior Secretary to take steps to prevent Musharraf from travelling abroad and to put his name on the 'Exit Control List'.
The bench had also issued notices to the government, Musharraf and other respondents to respond to the petitions. The petitioners asked the apex court to direct the government to prosecute Musharraf under the High Treason (Punishment) Act of 1973.
"It is necessary to issue notice to the respondents in these petitions. The office shall ensure service of notice to the respondents for tomorrow," Justice Khwaja had said. The Interior Ministry should ensure that "the respondent (Musharraf) does not leave the jurisdiction of Pakistan", he had added.
Most of the petitions against Musharraf have been filed by lawyers who want the former military strongman tried for treason for imposing emergency and deposing dozens of judges in 2007. "Musharraf should be prosecuted for high treason because he is guilty of subverting the Constitution," lawyer Hamid Khan told the court. "He should be punished with death or be jailed for life," Khan said. The lawyers pointed out that the Senate or upper house of parliament had passed a resolution in January 2012 that said Musharraf should be arrested on his return but the government had not acted on it.
(With Additional Inputs From PTI)