FIA declares Musharraf’s emergency act illegal

Published May 14, 2014
Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf. – File Photo
Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has “irrefutable proof” that former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf illegally declared a state of emergency in 2007, according to a report it released Wednesday.

The one-time leader now faces a high treason trial over the declaration.

The 237-page report quotes a former governor of Punjab, Khalid Maqbool and a former attorney general, Malik Muhammad Qayyum as saying they had not been consulted by Musharraf before he declared the emergency on Nov 3, 2007.

Under Pakistani law, Musharraf was to have consulted then-Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz before making the declaration – something the former government officials said he hadn't done.

The report also quotes former Cabinet Secretary Masoom Alam Rizvi as saying Aziz never gave any advice to Musharraf about declaring a state of emergency.

The position of cabinet secretary is considered one of the most important in Pakistan as the official issues all government notifications.

The report said investigators believe that's “irrefutable proof and concrete documentary evidence” that Musharraf illegally declared the state of emergency. It also accused the former military ruler of taking the decision “for his ulterior motives.”

The FIA report comes as Musharraf faces high treason charges over the decision, charges that carry the death penalty. It is the first time the government has submitted the findings of its investigation to the court, which has adjourned the hearing until May 22.

Musharraf, 70, seized power in a bloodless coup by ousting the government of then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999. Musharraf resigned as president in August 2008. He later left the country, but returned to Pakistan in March 2013, hoping for a political comeback.

Instead, he got embroiled in court cases relating to his near-decade in power. He's also been threatened by militants who would like to see him dead for ordering a series of military operations against their strongholds in Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

The charges are connected to his decision in 2007 to declare a state of emergency and detain senior judges, including the chief justice.

Critics said he was worried the judges would challenge his recent re-election as president but Musharraf portrayed it as a necessary step to fight the growing Taliban insurgency.

On Wednesday, Musharraf's lawyer Farogh Naseem refused to comment on the FIA report, saying he had not studied it yet.

Naseem is trying to get permission from courts for Musharraf to travel abroad for medical treatment. Prosecutors have been blocking the attempts, saying the former military strongman wants to flee the country to avoid prosecution.

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