Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has released a 237-page report that claims that it has “irrefutable proof” that Pervez Musharraf’s declaration of a state of emergency in 2007 was in contravention of the Pakistani constitution and thus illegal. Musharraf is currently undergoing trial for high treason after the current Pakistan Muslim League (PML) government brought the charges against him last year.
According to the FIA’s investigation, Musharraf did not consult other government officials before imposing the state of emergency. In particular, Khalid Maqbool, a former governor of Punjab, and Muhammad Qayyum, a former attorney general, both stated that Musharraf had not informed either of them before declaring a state of emergency on November 3, 2007. Under Pakistani law, Musharraf, as president, was required to at least consult then-Prime Minister Shawkat Aziz prior to declaring a state of emergency. According to the FIA’s report, Aziz stated that Musharraf did not do so.
More significantly, the report cites former Cabinet Secretary Masoom Alam Rizvi who confirms that neither he nor Aziz advised Musharraf prior to his decision to declare a state of emergency. Rizvi’s testimony carries considerable weight given the importance of the Cabinet Secretary in the government of Pakistan.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Based on testimonies from former officials and other statements, the FIA report concludes that it has “irrefutable proof and concrete documentary evidence” that Musharraf’s 2007 declaration was illegal. The report also alleges that Musharraf’s decision to impose an emergency was driven by “ulterior motives.”
Musharraf’s treason trial has polarized Pakistan’s politics, driving a wedge in particular between members of the military, many of whom continue to support and admire Musharraf, and the civilian PML-led government. Musharraf ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999 in a bloodless coup and ruled until 2008. He was the Chief of Army Staff under Sharif’s government in 1999. Sharif, who was elected Prime Minister again last year, consolidated power over his first six months in office before bringing the treason prosecution against Musharraf in November.
Musharraf has plead not guilty to treason charges, telling the court that he prefers “death to surrender.” His trial marks a watershed development in post-independence Pakistani politics as it is the first instance of a civilian government putting a senior member of the Pakistani military on trial. Sharif’s election last year marked the first successful transfer of power from one civilian government to another in Pakistani history. Should Musharraf be found guilty of high treason, he may face the death penalty.