LHC quashes Musharraf case verdict

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Says special court formation ‘unconstitutional’
Amraiz Khan

Lahore

The Lahore High Court on Monday termed the formation of special court for trial of former president Pervez Musharraf in high treason case as illegal and unconstitutional.
LHC’s three-member bench, headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi announced the verdict after hearing the petitions filed by Musharraf challenging the establishment of special court. It is worth mentioning here that the court had awarded death sentence to former army chief in the said case.
The verdict stated that permission was not taken from the Cabinet to form the special court in the high treason case. The judgment mentioned that trial cannot be conducted in absence of an accused.
The court in its verdict said that the Article 6 could not be enforced from past. The court admitted Musharraf’s petitions and declared the formation of special court as null and void.
Earlier, the LHC reserved its judgment on the said petitions. During hearing of the case, Additional Attorney General Ishtiaq Khan appeared before the court and presented record and summary of the establishment of special court.
He informed the court that the special court was formed without the approval of the cabinet. “The federal government had directed the interior secretary to file a complaint against the former army chief.
The AAG maintained “An emergency is part of the Constitution. If a situation emerges, and the government imposes emergency, so would the government be also tried under a treason case? An emergency, if imposed, would be reviewed if it is or not in line with the Constitution. A precedent was set, so anyone who would find it suitable would do it.”
“Giving respect to the AAG, the parliament included the word of suspending the Constitution in Article 6. By including three words, you changed the status of the entire constitution. With this, you cannot be granted an emergency,” added Justice Naqvi.
Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan said that either with the approval of the chief justice Lahore High Court or governor Punjab, chief justice of Pakistan or the president of Pakistan, the notification is issued. On December 17, 2019, the special court handed down death sentence to Musharraf in high treason case.
A three-member bench of the special court, headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, announced the verdict. The verdict which was split 2-1 said that it found the former military ruler guilty of high treason according to Article 6 of the Constitution of Pakistan for imposing a state of emergency on November 03, 2007.
Of the three judges, Justice Seth and Justice Karim gave the death sentence while Justice Nazarullah Akbar wrote a dissenting note saying that the prosecution team could not prove treason case.
The judgment, that comprised of 169 pages, stated that the prosecution failed to defend the case effectively and provide sufficient evidence against the former army chief. The court, in its verdict, announced that death penalty is being awarded to Musharraf on different counts.
Meanwhile, Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf on Monday lauded the decision of the Lahore High Court, which termed as ‘unconstitutional’ the formation of a special court that had sentenced him to death for high treason.
In a statement, the former military dictator also lauded the verdict of the High Court, saying that the court made the decision according to the law and Constitution.
In an audio talk, the former president said: “I cannot comment on it but the decision is really good, I am very happy that the judgement is as per the law and Constitution.”
Musharraf said his medical condition was also improving. “I am grateful to all those who prayed for my health,” he said.