Page last updated at 11:50 GMT, Thursday, 30 July 2009 12:50 UK

Court rejects Musharraf trial

Pervez Musharraf
Mr Musharraf argues his actions were necessary to combat militancy

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has rejected a request to launch a treason case against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

The court's announcement follows the failure of the former president and his lawyers to appear in court for a second consecutive day on Thursday.

The court had asked him to explain his decision in 2007 to invoke emergency rule and suspend the constitution.

It has now ruled that parliament is the place to debate Mr Musharraf's actions.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry rejected a petition to launch a treason case against the former president.

Mr Chaudhry was himself removed from his position as a result of President Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule, but was reinstated after he resigned in August.

Last week, a lawyer petitioned the Supreme Court to open proceedings against the former president for alleged unconstitutional behaviour. Mr Musharraf says his actions were taken in the best interests of Pakistan.

Correspondents say that the court proceedings have jolted the Pakistani political establishment at a time of relative calm and comes as the US wants the country to focus on fighting Taliban militants near the border with neighbouring Afghanistan.

Mr Musharraf - who is currently believed to be in Britain - seized power in a 1999 and sacked Mr Chaudhry and dozens of other senior judges in 2007.

He argued that his actions were taken for Pakistan's sake due in part to the threat from Islamic militants.

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