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Islamabad • Pakistan's Supreme Court says the government has formally started the process to try former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf for treason.

The court says the government sent a letter Monday asking Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to choose three high court judges to try Musharraf.

The government announced Sunday it planned to try Musharraf for treason for declaring a state of emergency and suspending the constitution while in power. Musharraf would be the first army chief tried for treason in a country that has experienced three military coups.

Musharraf's spokesman lashed out at the government, saying it was an attempt to malign the military.

The former president seized power in a coup in 1999 and ruled for almost a decade until he was forced to step down in 2008.

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