Pervez Musharraf moves SC against special court decision in high treason case

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Former president and top military official Pervez Musharraf on Thursday has moved Supreme Court (SC) against the verdict of special court to sentence him to death in high treason case.

According to details, the ex-president has stated that the special court had violated constitution in the trial of treason case against him, therefore, the decision should be declared null and void.

Earlier, Lahore High Court (LHC) had nullified the formation of special court which sentenced former president and top military official Pervez Musharraf to death in high treason case.

During the proceedings, the court had annulled section 4 of the Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act, 1976 and ruled that the treason case trial against the ex-president was not prepared according to the legal requirements. 

Pervez Musharraf had filed a petition in LHC and asked to set aside the special court’s verdict as it had violated Articles 10-A, 4, 5, 10 and 10-A of the Constitution. He had also requested the court to suspend the decision of special court till verdict on his plea.

While hearing the plea, the court had expressed resentment over Musharraf’s counsel and asked whether he had carefully read the case and prepared arguments over which, the lawyer said that the case was not complicated as the formation of special court was illegal.

He said that Nawaz Sharif, who was Prime Minister at that time, lodged fake case against Pervez Musharraf due to personal grudges.

Justice Mazhar Ali Akbar remarked that under which section, the trial court had indicted the accused in the case. Responding to the judge, Additional Attorney General Ishtiaq A Khan said that indictment was carried out on the charge of violating the Constitution by imposing emergency in the country.

Earlier on December 17, special court in Islamabad had sentenced former president and top military official Pervez Musharraf to death in high treason case.

Justice Nazar Akbar opposed the verdict of sentencing Pervez Musharraf to death and cleared him of the accusations while Justice Waqar Seth and Justice Shahid Karim handed him the death penalty.

“We are of the considered view that the accused in this High Treason case has been afforded more than his due share of fair trial. The protected trial of a constitutional and not any ordinary offence that began six years ago in 2013, has yet to see its end in 2019. The accused, who has been given every opportunity to defend himself, has by his conduct in the proceedings only evinced his utter contempt for the law and legal institutions in this country. The facts of this case are well documented. The documents clearly demonstrate the guilt on the part of the accused. It proves beyond a shadow of reasonable doubt all the charges of High Treason leveled against accused by the State.

“It is patent by the act and conduct of the accused facing trial, that he has persistently and stubbornly strived ever since the commencement of this trial, to delay, retract and in fact evade it. It has been his plea throughout that either on account of ill health or for security hazards he could not reach up to this Court to face trial.

“As a necessary corollary to what has been observed we find the accused guilty as per charge. The convict be therefore hanged by his neck till he dies on each count as per charge.

“We direct the Law Enforcement Agencies to strive their level best to apprehend the fugitive/convict and to ensure that the punishment is inflicted as per law and if found dead, his corpse be dragged to the D-Chowk, Islamabad, Pakistan and be hanged for 03 days.”

Treason case: Timeline

The ex-president is facing treason trial under Article 6 of the Constitution as well as Section 2 of the High Treason Act for imposing emergency in the country on November 3, 2007 that also resulted in the suspension of 61 judges of the superior judiciary, including then Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

On November 29, 2007, retired general Pervez Musharraf took oath as a civilian president and lifted the emergency, revoked the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) and restored a Constitution amended on November 15, 2007.

On August 18, 2008, Pervez Musharraf resigned as president after a nine-year rule in the country. On July 22, 2009, Supreme Court had summoned him to defend his action regarding emergence while on July 31, 2009, the apex court had declared Musharraf‘s decision to impose an emergency and PCO as illegal and unconstitutional.

The ex-president refused to respond to the court and departed for United Kingdom after which, his companions launched a political party “All Pakistan Muslim League (APML)” and made him its chairman.

On March 23, 2013, Musharraf returned Pakistan on pre-homecoming protective bail for 10 days to participate in the general elections.

On April 8, 2013, SC had summoned ex-military ruler in the treason case and directed the interior ministry to include his name in the Exit Control List (ECL). On November 18, 2013, then Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry had established special court for the trial of Musharraf. However, on December 12, 2013, the tribunal called him for proceedings of treason case.

On March 30, 2014, the special court had indicted former president but on March 18, 2016, he left for Dubai to “seek medical treatment”. On May 11, 2016, special court had declared Musharraf an absconder as he did not return after getting bail in the treason case.

On June 7, 2018, SC had allowed Musharraf to contest elections on the condition to appear before the court but on August 29, 2018, the special court was told that Interpol had refused to issue red warrants for ex-president’s repatriation from UAE.

On October 8, 2019, special court had decided to hear the case on the daily basis.

On November 19, 2019, the court had concluded the case and reserved the verdict for announcement on November 28 but on November 23, 2019, Musharraf challenged special court‘s move in Lahore High Court while a plea from interior ministry was also filed in Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Chief Justice Athar Manallah stated that there were unique, unusual and unprecedented circumstances in the case.

Moreover, the special court said that it will announce the verdict of high treason case against Pervez Musharraf on December 17.