Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Monday asked the Chief Justices of all High Courts to nominate a judge of their respective court by today (November 19), out of whom three judges will be included in the Special Court to be formed for the treason trial of former military dictator Pervez Musharraf under Article 6 of the Constitution.

Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Chaurdhy Nisar Ali Khan sent a letter to the Law Ministry seeking initiation of treason proceedings against former military dictator Pervez Musharraf. After receiving the letter, Law Secretary Zafarullah Khan sent a one-page letter to the chief justice of Pakistan, containing a request to give names of three judges of high courts to constitute a special court to try Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf under Section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act 1973 (Act IXVII of 1973).

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Sunday, at a press conference, announced to put Pervez Musharraf on trial for treason, punishable to death or life imprisonment, for imposing emergency on November 3, 2007.

“Following the judgement of the Supreme Court and a report submitted by an inquiry committee, it has been decided to start proceedings against General Pervez Musharraf for treason under Article 6 of the Constitution. It is happening for the first time in the history of Pakistan and the decision has been taken in the national interest,” Nisar said.

Chaudhry Nisar also said while sending the request to the chief justice for the constitution of a special court, the name of prosecutor would also be finalised. Various news channels aired on Monday the whole day that Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Naqvi had been nominated as a prosecutor. However, Naqvi, talking to The Nation, said though the government was considering his name, notification in that regard had not been issued.

Pervez Musharraf has been bailed out in all the cases, including Lal Masjid, assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, murder of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and the detention of judges. But his name is still on the ECL.

General (r) Pervez Musharraf is the first military officer to face the high treason case in the country’s military history. Political observers were divided over the belated government move to try the former military ruler for treason. Some were of the view it would open a Pandora box while others believed the move would help strengthen democracy in the country.

The former military dictator overthrew the Sharif government in a bloodless military coup in October 1999. The Supreme Court, however, validated the takeover after one year.

On November 3, 2007, Musharraf imposed emergency rule second time, suspending the Constitution and sacking the top judges who declared his actions unconstitutional and illegal.

Pervez Musharraf has been under house arrest since April this year in an unprecedented move against a former army chief in a country where the military holds huge powers.

The Pakistan People’s Party government, under the reconciliation policy of Asif Ali Zardari, avoided initiating proceedings and forming a special court for the trial of the former dictator during its five-year rule. Perhaps, its survival depended upon the allies’ support.

The Upper House of the Parliament passed unanimous resolutions on January 28, 2012, and March 20, 2013, recommending trial against Musharraf for high treason. In addition, Pakistan Bar Council also passed a unanimous resolution in this regard in 2010 and sent an application to the Law Ministry for registration of a case against the former COAS.

Agencies add: A court in Karachi on Monday adjourned hearing in a travel ban against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, his lawyer said, a day after the government announced it would try him for treason.

The former general applied last week for removal of his name from the exit control list that stops him from leaving Pakistan to go to visit his sick mother in Dubai.

The Sindh High Court in Karachi put off considering Musharraf’s exit control list application until November 22, after the government’s attorney general failed to attend the court, AQ Hallipota advocate said.

The treason accusation relates to Musharraf’s decision in 2007 to impose emergency rule.