Pakistan's Musharraf avoids treason charge by caretaker government

Pakistan's former president and military ruler Pervez Musharraf arrives at an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad, Pakistan on Saturday, April 20, 2013 Mr Musharraf has described all the cases against him as politically motivated

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The caretaker government in Pakistan has said it will not put former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on trial for high treason.

The government said such a move exceeded its mandate and a decision should be taken by the winner of next month's polls.

The former president, who led Pakistan for nine years, is currently under house arrest in Islamabad.

He was held last week over the illegal detention of judges in 2007.

Mr Musharraf has described all the cases against him as politically motivated.

In a written reply at a court hearing, the interim government said that its mandate was limited to organising elections and tackling the security threats in the run-up to the polls.

The BBC's Shahzeb Jillani in Islamabad says it is unclear if the caretaker government's response will satisfy the judges.

Pakistan's top judiciary, led by the chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, was at the receiving end of Gen Musharraf's controversial imposition of emergency rule in 2007, our correspondent says.

Judges were kept under house arrest for about six months in 2007 after he imposed emergency rule.

Since then, they have been vocal about the need for accountability to prevent any extra-constitutional steps recurring.

Mr Musharraf is already on bail for several other criminal cases and has been disqualified from standing in the forthcoming election.

The Pakistani Taliban have also vowed to assassinate the former president, who seized power in a 1999 coup.

Many Pakistanis feel that it is about time Pakistan's once most powerful man was held accountable for his actions, our correspondent says.

But others see the treatment being meted out to him as unfair and an attempt by some in the judiciary to give him a taste of his own medicine, he adds.

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