Pak sets up special court for Musharraf’s treason trial

Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday set up a special court to try former President Pervez Musharraf for high treason, the first time a civilian administration has sought to prosecute a military ruler.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the names of three judges for the special court. "The government has notified the tribunal," a senior official in the Prime Minister's Office said.
The judges were chosen on the basis of seniority. Justice Faisal Arab from Sindh High Court, the senior most, will head the court. Syed Tahira Safdar of Balochistan High Court and Yawaar Ali of Lahore High Court are the other judges, the official said.
The charges levelled against the 70-year-old Musharraf for imposing emergency and subverting the Constitution in 2007 could entail the death penalty or life imprisonment.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court had received names of five judges from the higher judiciary to initiate the high treason case against Musharraf.
All the five High Courts nominated a judge each and forwarded it to the Supreme Court Registrar. The Registrar then forwarded the names to the government.
The move to form the special court came after the Law Ministry asked the apex court to try the former army chief for high treason.
This is the first time the civilian administration has sought the criminal prosecution of a military ruler.
Musharraf's spokesperson has described the government's decision to initiate the case against him as a "vicious attempt to undermine the Pakistan military".
The military has ruled Pakistan for about half of its 66-year history and no ruler or top military commander has ever faced criminal prosecution.
Since Musharraf returned to Pakistan from self-exile in March, he has faced prosecution in four major cases, including one for his alleged involvement in the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.