The interim government of Pakistan on Monday refused to try former president Pervez Musharraf [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] for treason. The interim administration, which took office one month ago, told the Pakistani Supreme Court [official website] that trying the former president is beyond its mandate because its sole purposes are to oversee the upcoming vote and maintain the status quo for the incoming government. Charges of treason must be initiated by the state and can be punishable by death. The temporary administration was formed to guide the country until the May 11 general election when a new elected administration will take office. Because of its temporary nature, the current government cannot put into motion [Al Arabya report] any processes the new administration cannot reverse.
This move will be a temporary reprieve for the former president who was ordered [JURIST report] to remain under house arrest Saturday until his next hearing on May 4. Following the order for arrest, Musharraf's political party the All Pakistan Muslim League demanded [JURIST report] on Sunday the removal of Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui from the Islamabad High Court, stating that the Justice is a political figure and affiliated with a rival political party. Earlier this month, a three-member appellate tribunal disqualified [JURIST report] Musharraf from running in the upcoming parliamentary elections because he violated the constitution in 2007 by imposing emergency rule on the nation.