Musharraf charges: Pakistan government requests treason trial

Pervez Musharraf, 15 April 2013 Pervez Musharraf could face the death penalty if convicted of treason

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Pakistan's government is asking the Supreme Court to try the former military leader Pervez Musharraf on treason charges.

He is accused of treason for declaring a state of emergency in 2007 and suspending the constitution, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said.

The government will send its request in a letter to the court on Monday.

It is the latest legal setback for Mr Musharraf since he returned to Pakistan earlier this year.

If convicted of treason, he could face the death penalty or life in prison.

The government had announced in June that it wanted the former military ruler to be tried for treason, but had yet to submit a formal complaint.

Mr Musharraf already faces charges over an army operation in 2007 to remove militants from the Red Mosque in Islamabad. The incident left more than 100 dead, including a cleric, and helped spark Islamist unrest.

He faces charges of murder in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Baloch rebel tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti.

Election ban

Mr Musharraf has also been charged over his attempts to fire the senior judiciary five years ago.

The government's request that he be tried for treason comes just over a week after he was released from house arrest following the granting of bail.

Mr Musharraf, who would be the first former military leader to be tried for treason since the founding of Pakistan, denies all the charges against him and says they are politically motivated.

He came to power in 1999 after ousting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup. Five years after leaving power, he returned from self-imposed exile in March to contest a general election. Mr Sharif won that election, giving him a third term as prime minister.

Mr Musharraf has suffered numerous setbacks since setting foot in his home country. In a very public insult only days after his return, a shoe was thrown at him in a court building in Karachi.

He was also put under house arrest in April and banned from taking part in the election.

Despite the granting of bail, the former general is prohibited from leaving Pakistan, though he has said he does not intend to leave.

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