LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday directed the counsel representing the federal government to explain how former military dictator Pervez Musharraf’s case falls under treason and submit a complete record of the case on Dec 3. A special court had reserved its verdict in a high treason case against Musharraf for abrogating and subverting the constitution by proclaiming emergency in Nov 2007. However, the interior ministry and Musharraf’s counsel moved the Islamabad High Court and the LHC, respectively, against the special court, seeking a delay in the ruling. During the hearing on Thursday, the LHC asked the counsel to read Article 6 of the constitution and asked that if one act was made on October 1999 how an act that takes place on November 3, 2007, falls under treason.
According to Article 6, “Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.” Advocate Azhar Siddique, the defence counsel, questioned the formation of the special court, no approval was obtained by the then federal government, hence the court was illegal. “It is not the jurisdiction of the special court to initiate trial against former president Musharraf,” he added. He also argued that Musharraf’s trial was conducted in his absence, noting that there is a law about conducting trials in the absence of the accused.
The IHC had stopped the special court from giving the ruling after hearing a petition filed by the interior ministry– prosecution in the treason case against Musharraf. The bench set aside the November 19 order of the special court and instructed it to hear all sides and decide the case “in accordance with the law”. Musharraf was indicted on March 31, 2014, and the prosecution had tabled the entire evidence before the special court in September the same year. However, due to litigation at appellate forums, the trial of the former military dictator lingered on and he left Pakistan in March 2016 and has been an absconder ever since. In September this year, a special court bench had decided to conduct the trial on a daily basis from October 8 to conclude the case. (Pakistan Today)