Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf's plea to put off a treason case against him till after May 11 general elections was rejected on Tuesday by the Pakistan Supreme Court which, however, refused to order his arrest.
A two-judge bench led by Justice Jawad Khwaja, which is hearing five petitions seeking Musharraf's trial for treason for subverting the constitution and declaring an emergency in 2007, turned down Musharraf's lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri' plea to defer the case till May.
The Bench also rejected a request by the petitioners to arrest the former President. The bench further clarified it had not issued any stay order on Musharraf's political activities.
Kasuri contended that Musharraf would not be able to campaign for his All Pakistan Muslim League party if he had to appear in court. He claimed the case against Musharraf was being pursued hastily but Justice Khwaja replied that it had been ongoing for four years.
Musharraf had come back to Pakistan to help resolve the crises facing the country and even Interpol had rejected a move to arrest him, Kasuri claimed. He said current army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani too was involved in the 2007 emergency but the courts had not issued a notice to him.
Kasuri claimed the case against Musharraf would open a "Pandora's Box" and several "hidden names" linked to the emergency would be revealed.
Justice Khilji Arif, the other member of the bench, said there was no problem if the Pandora's Box is opened. The bench later adjourned the case till April 15.
Musharraf had said yesterday that he would not personally appear in the Supreme Court to answer a summons over treason allegations.
The former military strongman returned to Pakistan last month after nearly four years in self-exile.