© 2024 WKNO FM
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pakistan's Premier Says Musharraf Should Be Tried For Treason

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf at an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad on April 20.
Aamir Qureshi
AFP/Getty Images
Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf at an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad on April 20.

Pakistan's newly-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says the country's former military dictator Pervez Musharraf should be tried for high treason, the BBC reports.

Musharraf is currently under house arrest after returning from a self-imposed exile earlier this year. The BBC adds:

"[Musharraf] is fighting a series of charges relating to his time in power, which began with him ousting Nawaz Sharif in a 1999 military coup.

"His spokesperson described the proposed move as 'reckless and ill-conceived.'

"Mr Sharif told parliament: 'Musharraf violated the constitution twice. He overthrew an elected government in 1999 and put everything into jeopardy. He sacked judges and imprisoned them.' "

Specifically, Sharif said Musharraf violated the constitution when he declared emergency rule and suspended it in 2007.

The Guardian says that while Musharraf is not very popular in the country, he's still popular within the military. One expert told the newspaper that going through with this trial could "open a pandora's box," because it could drag in "other high-ranking officers."

Musharraf's spokesman said in a statement: "The people of Pakistan will not tolerate this circus, which is primarily meant to create a diversion. It is taking focus away from addressing serious challenges faced by the nation and can result in unnecessary tension amongst the various pillars of state and possibly destabilise the country."

The Associated Press reports that Supreme Court judges quizzed the country's Attorney General Munir Malik today about "specific plans to bring charges against Musharraf." The judges asked for an update on Thursday.

As The Guardian puts it, if Musharraf is tried, it would "mark the first time in Pakistan's history that a military ruler has been held accountable."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.