Musharraf emergency act declared 'illegal'

Report by Pakistan government says former president acted illegally by declaring state of emergency in 2007.

    Musharraf emergency act declared 'illegal'
    The former army chief seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999 [Reuters]

    Pakistan's government says it has "irrefutable proof" that former President Pervez Musharraf illegally declared a state of emergency in 2007.

    In a report published on Wednesday, the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) said investigators believed there was "irrefutable proof and concrete documentary evidence" that Musharraf illegally declared the state of emergency.

    The 237-page report also accused the former president of making the decision "for his ulterior motives".

    Quoting former attorney general, Malik Muhammad Qayyum, and former Punjab governor, Khalid Maqbool, the report said neither had been consulted by Musharraf before he declared the emergency on November 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 had not done.

    The report also quoted 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.

    Treason charges

    The FIA report comes as Musharraf faces high treason charges over the decision, charges that carry the death penalty.

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    During the imposition of a state of emergency, Musharraf suspended the constitution and detained several judges, including the chief justice, sparking widespread protests. If convicted, he faces life in prison or death. 

    Wednesday's report was the first time the government submitted findings of its investigation to the court, which has adjourned the hearing until May 22.

    Musharraf's lawyer Farogh Naseem, who is fighting for the 70-year-old to travel abroad for medical treatment, refused to comment on the FIA report, saying he had not studied it yet.

    The former army chief 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.

    The charges were brought against Musharraf by Sharif, who was re-elected to a third term in office in May 2013.

    SOURCE: Associated Press


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