ISLAMABAD: Former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf challenged in the Supreme Court on Thursday the rejection of his nomination papers in the 2013 general elections.
The former military ruler had filed his nomination papers to contest for a National Assembly seat – NA-250 Karachi (South). But the returning officer rejected the papers on the grounds that he had held in abeyance and suspended the Constitution on Nov 3, 2007, detained and removed a number of superior court judges and publicly insulted then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Gen Musharraf filed an appeal in an election tribunal in Karachi which was dismissed on April 16, 2013. The judgment in the case was authored by now Sindh High Court Chief Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Munib Akhtar.
Consequently, Gen Musharraf instituted an appeal before the SHC which met the same fate through a short order on April 18, 2013, and a detailed judgment issued on Feb 14, 2015.
In his petition filed by Senator Farogh Naseem, the former president requested the Supreme Court to set aside, quash and declare the SHC judgment illegal and without any basis.
The findings of the returning officer, the petition argued, were unlawful, conjectural and fanciful because in the light of treason charges pending before a special court, it was now an admitted position that Gen Musharraf had not acted alone while proclaiming the 2007 emergency.
“It is a matter of record that a number of politicians and members of the last and current national and provincial assemblies were consulted before imposing the emergency,” the appeal contended.
On Nov 21 last year, it said, the special court had also held that among others then law minister Zahid Hamid was equally complicit in the imposition of the emergency. “But it is interesting to note that Zahid Hamid was till recently a member of the National Assembly, contested the elections from NA-114 and resigned from the ministry only after being named in the special court’s order,” the petition said.
It regretted that the Election Commission had not permitted Gen Musharraf to take part in the election but allowed Zahid Hamid to do so, although both were accused in the same crime.
“What are now being made the reasons for disqualification of Gen Musharraf should have been the reasons for the debarment of Zahid Hamid and many others who are aiders and abettors in the imposition of Nov 3, 2007, emergency. Thus the stance taken is violative of Article 25 of the Constitution,” the appeal argued.
About the reference of treason trial of Gen Musharraf in the SHC judgment, the petition argued that the trial had not yet concluded and it was a settled principle of law that an accused was innocent till he was found guilty by a competent trial court.
“Hence, till such time Gen Musharraf is found guilty by the special court, no declaration exists to disqualify him under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution that deals with the qualification and disqualification of parliamentarians,” it contended.
Published in Dawn June 5th, 2015