Pakistan's powerful army 'intends to stay neutral', on the Supreme Court's decision to ask former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to explain why he imposed emergency rule nearly two years ago and sacked over 60 judges, according to a media report on Thursday.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who was among the 60 judges sacked by Musharraf, had on Wednesday issued a notice to the former president.
The move sparked speculation in political circles as to whether the army would defend its former chief.
The military headed by army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani 'intends to stay neutral' in the matter, The News daily reported today.
The military 'is not interested to drag itself into unnecessary controversy by siding with a man who is no more associated with the army and is sought by the country's superior judiciary for his unconstitutional actions," the newspaper quoted its sources as saying.
Though a military spokesman refused to comment on the issue, a senior army source ruled out the possibility of the army defending Musharraf in the apex court.
"We have nothing to do with it," the source said, referring to Musharraf's decision to impose emergency on November 3, 2007.
The Supreme Court had taken up a political case that has nothing to do with the army, the source said. Musharraf is no longer in the army and had 'no link' with the force, the source said, adding that dragging the army into the matter would be 'uncalled for'.
Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said President Asif Ali Zardari would honour any decision made by the 14-judge bench about Musharraf's actions.
"There are no two opinions -- that we will submit to the court verdict and implement it in letter and spirit...We will not take any step to nullify the court ruling," Babar said.
The ruling Pakistan People's Party had always been saying that the emergency was unconstitutional, he said.
A PPP leader also told The News that Zardari "did not want to lock horns with the Supreme Court on any issue" as he believed in the judiciary's independence.
However, other sources said alarm bells were ringing in the presidency as the apex court's actions could have serious implications for several judges who took oath after the emergency and collaborated with Musharraf as well as for PPP supporters who were inducted into the superior judiciary.