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Govt, Musharraf’s ‘abettors’ weighing legal options

Updated Nov 29, 2014 10:30am


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Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf. - AFP/File
Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf. - AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: While the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is still trying to figure out how to proceed on a special court’s order regarding the implication of former president Pervez Musharraf’s abettors in the treason case, the co-accused have engaged legal counsel to defend themselves.

Former prime minister Shaukat Aziz discussed the special court order and its possible repercussions against his person with former Senate chairman, Barrister Wasim Sajjad. Former federal minister Zahid Hamid has engaged former Punjab advocate general Khawaja Haris, while Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar has been discussing the matter with his attorneys to decide how to appeal against the order.

Barrister Sajjad confirmed to Dawn that the former prime minister had approached him and discussed the special court’s order in some detail. However, he refused to comment further, saying that his discussion with “his client” was “privileged communication” and that things were at the initial stage.

Former PM Aziz, Zahid Hamid and Justice Dogar engaging counsel, govt team considers appealing against order

“At this stage, I can only confirm that Mr Shaukat Aziz has been in touch with me; we have discussed the treason case,” he said.

Similarly, Khawaja Haris also told Dawn that Zahid Hamid had discussed the case with him. The Lahore-based lawyer has now arrived in Islamabad, ostensibly to discuss his strategy with Mr Hamid.

Justice Dogar told Dawn that he was also looking to challenge the special court order as he had no role in the imposition of emergency on November 3, 2007, which was the basis of the federal government’s treason case against Gen Musharraf.

“I have discussed the order with my lawyers and will make a decision in a couple of days after consulting them,” he said.

He was of the opinion that the order could be challenged in the Supreme Court or a writ against the order could be filed in the high court.

A lawyer close to Justice Dogar said that instead of just one attorney, a panel of senior advocates would represent Justice Dogar in the court.

The special court, headed by Justice Faisal Arab of the Sindh High Court (SHC), on November 21 directed the federal government to implicate former PM Aziz, Mr Hamid and Justice Dogar as co-accused in the treason case.

This order was passed on a petition, filed by the former military ruler’s legal team, seeking to include those who abetted the retired general in imposing a state of emergency. Before this, Musharraf was the sole accused in the complaint filed by the government before the special court in December.

The special court’s order states: “the record shows that steps for removal and appointment of the judges were taken with undue haste on the very same day i.e. November 3, 2007 by the then federal law minister and the then prime minister, instantly supplementing the purpose with which the emergency of November 3 was imposed and instruments like PCO and the Oath of Office (Judges) Order 2007 were issued.”

Regarding Justice Dogar, the court observed that unlike his fellow judges, Justice Dogar was not removed from office. According to the court order, Justice Dogar was fourth on the seniority list of Supreme Court judges, but was made chief justice of Pakistan “within a span of only few hours of imposition of 2007 emergency”.

Sources close to the government’s legal team that is examining the special court’s order told Dawn that the government is considering three options.

One option is the filing of an appeal against the order in the Supreme Court. The government can also file a presidential reference, under Article 186 of the Constitution and seek an opinion on the legality of the special court order.

Article 186 (1) states, “If at any time, the president considers that it is desirable to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court on any question of law which he considers of public importance, he may refer the question to the Supreme Court for consideration.”

Section 2 of the same article reads, “The Supreme Court shall consider a question so referred and report its opinion on the question to the president.”

The third option available with the government is to file a writ petition in the high court against the special court order, sources said.

A member of the government legal team told Dawn that they were examining the special court order quite carefully as it was the first of its kind in the history of Pakistan.

“We don’t have previous legal precedent on the basis of which we can make a decision,” he said.

The government doesn’t want to make a hasty decision and wants concrete steps taken to deal with the order, he further said. We are also discussing this matter with key legal experts as well, he added.

Advocate Mohammad Akram Sheikh, the lead prosecutor in the treason case told Dawn that after the special court’s order of December 21, he had also been consulted by the government.

“The government has sought my opinion, which I provided,” he said.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2014


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Comments (13) Closed

Amarnath Nov 29, 2014 12:03pm

for pakistani democracy to thrive, the law should take its course..... in which case this man will surely be put behind bars for overthrowing a civilian govt. This man messed up the sub continent from its already messed up status.

muhammad Nov 29, 2014 12:03pm

After the failure of successive so-called democratic governments the case against Musharraf has lost all its moral grounds

MAlvi Nov 29, 2014 12:20pm

Pakistan government is wasting time in vendetta and unnecessarily making matters complicated, while people of Pakistan are suffering from all sorts of problems.

CHISTAE Nov 29, 2014 01:21pm

Total waste and nothing productive will come out of this case.

Irfan Baloch Nov 29, 2014 02:35pm

@Amarnath your comment pleases the ruling party that is only after revenge, NOT justice. the entire case is carefully crafted to single Musharraf out. the case is not about overthrowing democracy because that was endorsed by the supreme court

but it is about declaring democracy due to ongoing terrorism after red mosque operation and political unrest funded by the nawaz party.

muhammad Nov 29, 2014 03:51pm

@Amarnath He is not being tried for overthrowing the "democratic" government this case is about 3rd November emergency when few Judges lost their jobs

SM ZAKI Nov 29, 2014 06:29pm

@Amarnath you are talking about "democracy"........! which democracy? where Shairfs rule like emperors or democracy of marvi memon or Amir Muqam or or or or or or...... a long long list. ha ha ha. Im really amused.

Hugh Slaman Nov 29, 2014 06:31pm

@Amarnath They are not trying him for imposing martial law and overthrowing a civilian government. That was a much more serious action than the one for which they are trying him,namely an emergency suspension of the Consitution. The PMLN will never pursue him for overthrowing a civilian government, since to do so they would have to revive memories of how Nawaz Sharif idiotically tried to kill Musharraf by preventing his plane from landing, thus forcing the Army to take over. The trial of Musharraf is a vendetta that has been derailed by pressure from the dharnas.

Zak Nov 29, 2014 09:48pm

Wish he was president still.

Imran Nov 29, 2014 11:58pm

Why cant we have Egyptian judges in Pakistan judicial system? They can sentence anyone without listening the accused and acquit the criminals.

fida sayani USA Nov 30, 2014 05:47am

@Zak you want a coward to be your President, the man who hide behind his fragile heart or for his personal security, refuses to appear in the court. I thought Muslim were supposed to follow a brave leader.

JUSTICE Nov 30, 2014 07:08am

We miss you Gen. Parveez Musharaf, I wish you were back to safe PAKISTAN from PML-N & PPP corrupt leadership.

James Nov 30, 2014 10:19am

@fida sayani USA a Muslim is not supposed to tell lies - That is for sure. Musharraf has appeared before various courts around 2 dozen times. He is the bravest, most patriotic and the most able leader in Pakistan.