Lahore High Court adjourns Musharraf’s plea till today

F.P. Report

LAHORE: A three-member Lahore High Court (LHC) bench Thursday adjourned the hearing of a petition filed by former president Pervez Musharraf challenging the formation and proceedings of the Special Court in the high treason case till January 10.

The bench headed by Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and comprising Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti and Justice Chaudhry Muhammad Masood Jahangir heard the petition and three civil miscellaneous applications for suspending the operation of the Special Court’s judgement.

At the start of the proceedings, Musharraf’s counsel submitted that formation of the Special Court was illegal, in response to a court query. He further submitted that Pervez Musharraf had challenged the steps of formation of Special Sourt and initiation of inquiry against him.

However, the bench expressed displeasure over the counsel for not properly assisting it, observing whet-her he had studied the case.

The court observed that the counsel should take time and come prepared as it was an important matter.

At this stage, Barrister Ali Zafar, who came to witness the proceedings, submitted that imposing of emergency did not fall under the ambit of high treason after the bench sought his opinion in this regard.

Later, with the permission of the bench, Musharraf’s counsel advanced his arguments and submitted that the then prime minister initiated the case due to personal reasons. He submitted that the high treason punishment act was amended in 2010 and the step of imposing emergency was also included in it.

At this, Justice Naqvi observed that the bench had questioned whether the suspension of the Constitution and imposing emergency were two different things? He further asked that Pervez Musharraf was indicted under which section.

Justice Bhatti asked whether the emergency was imposed by the president or the general?

To which, the bench was apprised that the word ‘chief executive’ had been used. Additional Attorney General Ishtiaq A Khan read out the indictment and stated that it had been written in indictment that the Constitution was abrogated by imposing emergency.

Justice Naqvi observed that usually the inquiry started after registration of the case but the inquiry was held first and then the complaint was lodged in the case.

Justice Bhatti observed that the Attorney General for Pakistan wrote a letter to the cabinet for starting the inquiry. Whether, the cabinet gave approval of it or not, he questioned.

A federal law officer stated that there was no reply of the cabinet on the record. He stated that the Secretary Interior was nominated for registration of the complaint, whereas he was also summoned for recording his statement. He submitted that the FIA conducted the inquiry of the matter and declared Pervez Musharraf guilty and the same report was submitted before the Special Court but the indictment did not have any reference of it.

Musharraf’s counsel submitted that the application was sent to the Special Court on the basis of the inquiry.

The bench questioned that whether the proceedings could be held against the accused if his statement was not recorded under Section 342 CrPC.

The Additional Attorney General stated that proceedings could not be moved ahead without recording the statement of the accused.

The court was apprised that the Special Court was formed on November 18, 2013 and the complaint was registered against Musharraf on December 11, 2013, in response to queries.

Subsequently, the court adjourned further hearing till January 10, while directing the counsel to come prepared.