Several retired Pakistani generals have warned that the military might react if there is any move by lawyers or the judiciary to humiliate former army chief Pervez Musharraf, according to a media report on Tuesday.
Former army chief Gen (retd) Mirza Aslam Beg said the army would not tolerate developments in the case of Musharraf after a "certain level".
He was quoted by the Dawn newspaper as saying that certain quarters were encouraging lawyers to act against the former military ruler.
"Otherwise they could not dare to humiliate the former (army chief) who ruled the country for more than a decade," Beg said.
"Certain elements" laid a trap for Musharraf while he was abroad by giving him an impression through social media that Pakistan was waiting for him and he would be warmly welcomed on his return from self-exile, he said.
After Musharraf's arrival in Pakistan last month, planned and coordinated efforts were made to "humiliate" him and to provoke the military by dragging the institution into unnecessary litigation along with Musharraf, Beg said.
"The situation may turn dangerous if the lawyers continued to humiliate the former military chief and tried to drag the institution into the courts," he said.
Lt Gen (retd) Jamshed Ayaz, a defence analyst, said the military was closely monitoring the situation.
At least nine corps commanders currently serving in the army were promoted during Musharraf's regime, he pointed out.
Ayaz claimed Musharraf still enjoys support within the army's ranks and the incumbent chief, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, should "play a role" to save Musharraf from humiliation.
"Otherwise Musharraf's sympathisers may intervene to rescue the former military chief," he said.
Faiz Ali Chishti, another retired general and president of the Ex-Servicemen's Society, said he believed Musharraf has to face the courts in case he had done something wrong but lawyers should not be allowed to treat him as a criminal.
"An accused, in the eye of law, remains innocent until or unless he is proved guilty," he said.
After proving a charge against an accused, courts announce their verdict and it is executed by law enforcement agencies while the role of lawyers is only to assist the courts, he said.
But in the case of Musharraf, lawyers are "trying to take the law into their own hands" and this is not acceptable, Chishti said.
There is some division among former military personnel over the treatment of Musharraf, the report said.
Brig (retd) Mian Mohammad Mehmood, a representative of a retired army officers association, claimed there was no sympathy for Musharraf among retired personnel.
He said Musharraf was "reaping what he had sown in 2007" when he sacked members of the superior judiciary.
"We were with the lawyers and civil society during the movement for restoration of the judges and rendered sacrifices for the supremacy of the law," Mehmood said.
However, lawyers should show decency during Musharraf's appearance in courts to prove that they had fought for the supremacy of law. Lawyers should let courts decide the fate of the former dictator, he said.
Security analyst Ayesha Siddiqa said the army had tried to stop Musharraf from coming back to Pakistan but he had ignored the advice.
She said the army would not come to Musharraf's rescue because it would destroy its image.
The army, after consistent efforts, is restoring its image and has achieved certain targets and it cannot undo this for the sake of Musharraf, she said.
Columnist Imtiaz Gul too thought the army would not step into the controversy just to rescue Musharraf.
Syed Qalbe Hassan, vice-chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council, the apex body of lawyers, said the Supreme Court was examining high treason charges against Musharraf and senior lawyers were presenting their arguments for and against the former military ruler in the apex court.
He said "a few lawyers" with a "hidden agenda" were bringing a bad name to the legal fraternity by humiliating Musharraf.
They are pressuring Musharraf because they want him to leave the country without facing a trial, he claimed.
He suggested that Musharraf should be tried for leading a coup in 1999 and the generals and judges who facilitated and validated his unconstitutional steps in 1999 and in 2007 should be dealt with in accordance with the law.