ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's federal government has moved one step closer to putting former military dictator General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf on trial for treason, by appointing a committee to investigate him for subverting the constitution.
Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan informed the National Assembly on Thursday that a four-member committee of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had been constituted to probe treason charges against the former military chief.
Nisar said the investigating team comprises of two directors and two additional director-generals of the FIA, and that the team would complete its investigations over treason charges against Musharraf and submit a report to the government soon.
He added that the committee would hold meetings with him on a weekly basis.
Ppposition member and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senior leader Makhdoom Amin Faheem said Article 6 of the Constitution should be applicable on everyone from October 1999 onwards. He said that applying the law only to the former dictator's November 2007 actions was tantamount to double standards.
Faheem said his party had supported Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's announcement to try former President Musharraf in the high treason case, adding that it was for the first time in the country's history that the government has moved the court on Article 6.
He further said that justice should be served and accountability should be carried out across the board.
Speaking to a private television channel earlier on Wednesday, Faheem had said that the apex court should have also taken up the 1977 coup by former military dictator Zia ul Haq.
Another opposition member of the National Assembly, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, said that Article 6 should be applicable to all who committed treason 1956 onwards.
Speculation has been rife during the past two days over the seriousness of the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) government in pursuing the treason cases against Musharraf.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing of the treason case against the former military dictator for an indefinite period to hold consultations over setting up of a special court to hear the case against the ex-army strongman.
The apex court also rejected a plea to order the formal arrest of Musharraf citing that no formal charges against the former president had been put before the court.
Earlier during the hearing , Attorney General Munir A. Malik submitted the government’s line of action in the case which said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had ordered the FIA to conduct an inquiry into the actions of Musharraf on November 3, 2007, the day when he held the constitution in abeyance and imposed emergency in the country, sacking dozens of judges of the superior courts.
AFP adds: Musharraf's lawyer Ibrahim Satti urged the Supreme Court to give his client a fair trial, accusing the media and Sharif of being biased against him.
“In this background the answering respondent is expecting and having full hope that this bench will safeguard and protect the interest and civil right of him regarding fair trial,” said Satti, speaking in English.
Presiding judge Jawwad S.Khawaja said he would deliberate further on the issue and set no date for another hearing.
Later, the bench adjourned the hearing until further notice, in order to hold consultations with Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry over the constitution of a special court to hear the treason case.