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ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday reconstituted the special court bench seized with the high treason trial of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf and made Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Yawar Ali head of the three-judge bench.

CJP Nisar appointed Justice Nazar Akbar of the Sindh High Court as a member of the bench. The third member of the bench is Justice Tahira Safdar of the Balochistan High Court.

Justice Akbar has replaced Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Yahya Afridi who last month recused himself from the high treason case after Mr Mush­arraf’s counsel filed an application, objecting that being a counsel in the case relating to imposition of emergency on Nov 3, 2007, Justice Afridi could not hear the case.

LHC Chief Justice Yawar Ali will head three-judge bench

Mr Musharraf is facing the high treason case for suspending the Constitution on Nov 3, 2007. Soon after the 2013 general elections, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court of Pakistan that it would seek a high treason case against the former military ruler.

Subsequently, the government filed a complaint against Mr Musharraf in December 2013. The special court on March 31, 2014 indicted him. However, during the 2014 sit-in in Islamabad the progress in the treason case slowed down and even though the prosecution in September the same year laid down all its evidence, the special court could not conclude the case since the former military ruler had filed multiple petitions against his trial at the appellate forum.

Later, Mr Musharraf left the country after winning a legal battle with the federal government over placing his name on the exit control list on March 31, 2016. Since then, there has been no progress in the case except that the special court has initiated proceedings to confiscate properties of Mr Musharraf. The spouse, daughter and another relative of the former military ruler claimed ownership of these properties and this issue is also pending before the court.

On March 8, 2018, the special court ordered suspension of Mr Musharraf’s passport and CNIC. The interior ministry, however, did not implement the order as it interpreted it differently.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2018