‘Fugitive’ Musharraf not entitled to any relief, observes IHC

Updated October 13, 2019

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IHC, in its written order on the petition, observed that former army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf was “admittedly a fugitive from law and has been declared as an absconder. — AP/File
IHC, in its written order on the petition, observed that former army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf was “admittedly a fugitive from law and has been declared as an absconder. — AP/File

ISLAMABAD: Being “fugitive” and “absconder”, former military dictator retired Gen Pervez Musharraf is not entitled to any relief from court, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) observed while dismissing a petition filed by a political party.

The IHC in its written order on the petition observed that Gen Musharraf was “admittedly a fugitive from law and has been declared as an absconder by competent court of law…this is sufficient reason for dismissal of this petition”.

The Pakistan Social Justice Party (PSJP) had filed the petition seeking to quash the First Information Report (FIR) registered against the former military ruler in the murder case of a Lal Masjid cleric, Abdul Rashid Ghazi. The petitioner was of the opinion that the FIR based on mala fide intent could cause a direct threat to the country’s stability and its vital institution.

According to the commission constituted by the Supreme Court, the Lal Masjid operation was conducted on the order of military ruler Musharraf, which resulted in the killing of Ghazi and his mother Sahiba Khatoon among others, the petitioner said.

Plea seeking to quash FIR against former military ruler dismissed

In April 2013, the commission held former president Musharraf, the then prime minister Shaukat Aziz and his political allies responsible for the military operation in which 103 people were killed.

The PSJP in its petition argued that the military operation was ordered to maintain the writ of the state after the “civilian government” had failed to resolve the issue of “illegal encroachment on children’s library by seminary students”.

It further argued that Gen Musharraf was booked on the IHC direction issued on July 7, 2013 whereas the Lal Masjid operation had been carried out in 2007.

In September 2013, the Aabpara police registered an FIR against him on the direction of the IHC. Haroon Rashid, the son of Abdul Rashid Ghazi, had filed a petition with the IHC seeking legal action against the former military ruler for launching the military operation.

After completing the investigation, the Aabpara police in the challan submitted in the court placed Gen Musharraf in Column No 2. This column is used for an accused who the investigation officer considers innocent but does not discharge him on his own and wants the court to decide his fate.

However, the counsel for the PSJP failed to satisfy the IHC regarding the locus standi (right of audience) of the petitioner, which is a registered political party, to seek quashing of the criminal case on Gen Musharraf’s behalf.

While observing Gen Musharraf was “fugitive” and “absconder”, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah declared that there were sufficient reasons for dismissal of the petition. The court then dismissed the petition as not maintainable.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2019