Attorney General of Pakistan Munir A. Malik called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the prime minister
Attorney General of Pakistan Munir A. Malik called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the prime minister's office in Islamabad.—Online Photo

ISLAMABAD: After announcing on Monday that his government had decided to try former president retired General Pervez Musharraf on treason charges, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif discussed the future course of action on the case with Attorney General Muneer A. Malik on Tuesday.

On a directive of the Supreme Court, the government will apprise it on Wednesday about the steps required under the law to put an individual on trial under Article 6 of the constitution, which carries capital punishment or life imprisonment.

The media wing of the prime minister’s office issued a press statement only confirming the meeting between the prime minister and the attorney general during which they discussed “legal and constitutional issues”.

Of course, the most important constitutional and legal issue the government is confronting at the moment is the trial of Pervez Musharraf for imposing an emergency on Nov 3, 2007, an act the Supreme Court had already declared unconstitutional.

Mr Malik was not available for comment.

S.M. Zafar, a veteran lawmaker and SC lawyer, told Dawn that under the constitution the government would have to appoint the secretary of interior, a designated or a focal person to file a formal complaint against Mr Musharraf. The statutory regulatory order (SRO) issued in 1994 explains how to lodge a complaint under Article 6 of the constitution.

After filing the complaint, the government, in consultation with the chief justice of Pakistan, will appoint a three-man special court of high court judges under Section 4 of the Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act, 1976, to conduct the trial. The jurisdiction of the special court to try any person under treason is exclusive and no other court has the jurisdiction to hear or interfere with this trial.

Since the government had made a written commitment before the court that the former army chief would be put on trial, there was no going backwards, explained Mr Zafar when asked how the government would go ahead with the case. However, according to him, the PML-N government had chosen a wrong time. “I don’t like it. I don’t have good feelings about this case.

“I can’t comment how the government will and should proceed with the trial, it will have to be very careful considering enormity of the case as it involves a former president who was also an army chief,” said Mr Zafar.

Talking to Dawn, Information Minister Pervez Rashid said since the attorney general was dealing with the case, he would inform the court about the government’s future course of action on the trial. He said it was a legal issue, and let it be discussed within the court, adding the constitution was clear on how to go ahead in such cases.

He refused to accept a perception that the government had raised the issue of General Musharraf’s trial to detract people’s attention from other issues like loadshedding, militancy and bad economy.

But a senior PML-N leader close to the leadership said: “A go-slow policy will be followed in the case and that’s what suits the government, considering the challenges it is faced with in the form of electricity crisis and near economic meltdown.”

A JUI-F spokesman, Jan Achakzai, said nobody was against the trial of General Musharraf, but since it was a complicated case, it needed deft handling.

He said the government could ill-afford to delve into such an issue which has the potential to snowball into a bigger problem in the coming days.

Asad Umar of the PTI said that a truth and reconciliation commission was the need of the hour. He said General Musharraf’s case would be decided in the coming days, but wondered about the fate of the Asghar Khan case in which the sitting prime minister and his party had been accused of receiving money to manipulate elections. That act amounted to subverting the constitution, too, he added.

“We have to get out of the blame-game and steer the country out of its current woes which unfortunately are too many,” Mr Umar said in a TV talk show.

Updated Jun 26, 2013 06:40am

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Comments (17) (Closed)


Shakespere
Jun 26, 2013 07:15am

What a waste of time this is going to be Instead of paying full attention and spending night and day to deal with real issues the nation is going to be treated to this drama The P.M has this one and only chance to be remembered by future generations as a leader and not another rangila raja Stop wasting every body's time and let your AG deal with the issue

chacha
Jun 26, 2013 08:04am

We want across the board accountability. Rule of law applies to all. Truth and reconciliation is a good idea,

That is, confess what one did wrong supporting anti-people dictatorships, political manipulation and unconstitutional rule by non-elected army generals, only to bury such practices in favour of democratic constitutional people focused governments.

Dr.Emile Unjom
Jun 26, 2013 08:09am

PANDORA'S BOX IS OPENED. A POLITICIAN'S ACT, NO STATESMANSHIP.

rizwan
Jun 26, 2013 08:13am

Nawaz Sheriff taking his personal revenge. Thats all it is. Sold to the nation as a good thing.

shawn
Jun 26, 2013 08:27am

can you please tell when you going discuss your own corruption cases and Mr. Zardari cases.

nabil
Jun 26, 2013 08:33am

Mr. PM is diverting people's attention to Musharaaf case. He is doing shuffling in his agenda which he made before the election. The case against Musharaaf is not important compare to people's woes in recent days.

Tassavar Zulfikar
Jun 26, 2013 09:57am

Mr S.M. Zafar whole his life sided with dictators right from Ayub KHan to perwiz Musharraf. His liking and un liking does canary any substance as such has no refer e in the revenue. However the comments of Mr. Umer Asad are enormously merits serious considerations.

muzammil ullah khan
Jun 26, 2013 10:15am

The judges have already written the judgement ! The trial is a farce and simply a case of vendetta by Nawaz and the "ever sermonizing" and Suo Moto fame CJP . It is going to go down as a classic example of Justice gone wrong and the next martial law, which will come anyway, would ensure that there is no one left to perpetuate this kind of blatant farce in the name of democracy .

VA
Jun 26, 2013 11:29am

Pak should concentrate on welfare of People, bring many power projects, engage with India in power, oil and gas sector for immediate solution etc. Keep Mush case at the lowest level as it will only create internal frictions.

Blitzer
Jun 26, 2013 11:44am

So when is the Honorable CJP recommending a treason case against the sitting PM, Mr. Sharif Sr., on subverting the constitution in the Asghar Khan graft case? That'd be the ultimate test of the impartiality of the Higher Judiciary, otherwise, this is all a smokescreen to divert the public's attention from more pressing matters.

Masoud
Jun 26, 2013 11:43am

I think Musharraf is being targeted for a political reason. If the PM is so interested to do justice then he should order all the irregularities committed from 1999 onward at the least. The case of all political murder should also be opened.

Safdar
Jun 26, 2013 12:21pm

He is busy taking personal revenge rather than fixing misery of the people...

kalim wahidi
Jun 26, 2013 03:45pm

My assessment of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has come true; a birdbrain, chicken hear ted, cunning as a fox, unable to absorb authority ,full of greed and vengeance.In near future profess he will sell out Pakistan to India.

akram
Jun 26, 2013 03:49pm

I am all for musharraf's trial, he has a lot to answer for, unfortunately it looks also like Nawaz sharif has learnt little in the last 14 years. Looks very much like its going to be more of the same from him.

MSA
Jun 26, 2013 04:24pm

If this new government is truly concerned about doing some thing about the dire problems that the country is facing, they should consult Musharraf for his help, instead of prosecuting him or jailing him.

Pakistani people want to live their lives in peace; it does not matter under whose kingdom. Unfortunately, Sharif brothers and the SC are both poised to take personal revenge on president Musharraf, and are not able to weigh against the issues that Pakistan is facing.

Syed Ahmed
Jun 26, 2013 07:22pm

The acts of General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf of November 3, 2007 does not amount to high treason under Article 6 in force during 2007, since the former did not abrogate the constitution, only held in abeyance ( meaning suspended temporarily). I reproduce the article in question. High treason 6. (1) Any person who abrogates or attempts or conspires to abrogate, subverts or attempts or conspires to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by other un- constitutional means shall be guilty of high treason. (2) Any person aiding or abetting the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason. (3) (Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) shall by law provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of high treason. The phrase “held in abeyance” was inserted in the Article 6, through 18th Amendment on or about 19 April 2010, without retrospective effect and is not applicable on Musharraf. It should be clear to all the wise people, including some who are trying to vindictive. The litigants, the SC and the parliamentarians are ill-advised and wasting precious time and money to pull down the sky.

Mohammad Aslam
Jun 27, 2013 04:21am

Treason is a high kind of crime against State not against individuals. President and Army Chief can be the highest kind of positions in a country. Trying him in treason means implicating all chain of body of government up to the lower level at that time was a part of the game. Let him face other charges which are enough to meet his fate of wrong acts of extra judicial nature. It is matter of court not the Government elected under public mandate. Nawaz Sharif should focus entire attention on public matters for which he was elected. Wasting a single day is violating the mandate with the people.