ISLAMABAD: The government has sacked the entire prosecution team engaged by the previous Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) government to prosecute former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case for abrogating and subverting the Constitution by proclaiming emergency in the country on Nov 3, 2007.

When a special court seized with the case against the former military dictator resumed hearing on Thursday, it was told that the government had terminated the services of the prosecution team.

However, the court was not informed about the reason for sacking the prosecution team.

Chief prosecutor, who learnt about development during hearing, appreciates the job done by the sacked team

The sudden disclosure about the removal of the prosecution team surprised Dr Tariq Hassan, head of the prosecution, as he told the court that he learnt about it right now.

He, however, said the prosecution had already laid the entire evidence before the court in September 2014. He said the prosecution had submitted written arguments to the court as well and there was not much left at this stage when the trial was nearing its logical end.

Talking to Dawn, Dr Hassan said that despite all odds, the prosecution team had done a tremendous job and did not leave any loophole in the case. He said that since Gen Musharraf, despite repeated summons, had not turned up for recording his testimony under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the court might decide the case on the basis of available evidence.

The PML-N government had filed the complaint of high treason against Gen Musharraf under Article 6 of the Constitution in December 2013.

Gen Musharraf was indicted in this case on March 31, 2014.

He, however, left the country in March 2016 with the nod of superior courts as well as the interior ministry and since then he has been an absconder in the case.

On April 1 this year, the Supreme Court had directed the special court to proceed against Gen Musharraf as it was empowered to do so even in his absence under Section 9 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973.

The special court, however, allow­ed defence counsel Reza Bashir, who was appointed by the law ministry on court’s directive to assist in the case, to appear at the next hearing on Nov 19.

The court summoned the interior secretary to explain under which law the prosecution team was terminated.

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2019

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