Night Watch

Pakistan: Update. The News published an update on the government's action against Musharraf for "high treason."

The article quoted sections of the government's reply to a 24 June order by the Supreme Court. That reply said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed the interior secretary to order the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to constitute a special team of senior officers to begin an investigation of the actions of "General (retd) Parvez Musharraf" on 3 November 2007 that might amount to "high treason." The FIA also was ordered to finalize as soon as possible the statement of the case to be pursued by the federal government before the special court to be constituted.

"On the completion of the investigation, the federal government shall file the requisite complaint under Section 5 of the Criminal Law Amendment (Special Courts Act, 1976) and take steps to constitute the special court in accordance with Section 4 of the said Act for the trial of the offence."

With respect to the legal requirements for a treason investigation, the government also submitted that the law entrusts the investigation of the offence of high treason to the FIA. In order to ensure a speedy completion of the FIA inquiry and investigation, the Prime Minister is also considering the constitution of a commission to oversee and monitor the progress of the proceedings.

The court will resume hearing in the instant case on Thursday, 27 June.

Comment: The government's submission today indicates strong determination to bring Musharraf to justice by creating new three agencies. First is the special investigation team within the FIA. Second is the special court that will receive the FIA's statement of the case. Third is the oversight commission.

The government submission is significant for what it did not state. It did not mention any charge of treason based on Musharraf's military coup in October 1999. In an apparent deal with or concession to the Pakistan Army, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has agreed to not pursue that case.

A government investigation of the 1999 coup would have implicated many senior, now retired, general officers who were following orders from the Chief of the Army Staff, Musharraf. Those generals would include most of the army corps commanders in 1999 and the Chief of the air staff, all of whom abetted Musharraf's ouster of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

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