LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday directed a federal law officer to furnish complete record of high treason case against former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf.
At the outset of hearing, Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi asked Musharraf’s counsel as to what relief he still wanted from the court since the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had already stayed announcement of verdict in the high treason case by a special court.
Advocate Azhar Siddique, the counsel for the former military dictator, said the petition before the LHC was slightly different from the one the interior ministry had filed before the IHC.
“This petition mainly questions the legitimacy of the special court,” added the counsel.
He argued that the notification regarding formation of the special court was not a legal one as mandatory approval by the federal cabinet was missing. He said the trial of Musharraf was also conducted in absentia.
A federal law officer sought time to respond to the court’s queries about the implication of Article 6 of the Constitution in the case against the former president.
He said the whole team of the attorney general office was busy in Islamabad before the Supreme Court for hearing of a matter relating to extension in the tenure of the chief of army staff.
Justice Naqvi allowed the time and also directed the law officer to submit complete record of the case on Dec 3.
The petition stated that Musharraf was unable to return to Pakistan due to his medical condition while the special court declared him proclaimed offender on June 19, 2016 and also seized his family property.
It stated that the trial did not continue for two years till Sept 10, 2018 when the special court reconvened the proceedings on a day to day basis in the absence of the accused (Musharraf).
The petition said Musharraf be allowed to lead evidence in his defence and to provide answers to the questions already prepared for him by the special court. It sought a direction for the special court to decide a pending application under section 265-K of Code of Criminal Procedure for his acquittal at the earliest.
Musharraf had left the country in March 2016 after the interior ministry removed his name from the Exit Control List letting him to travel abroad on medical grounds. However, he failed to return to face the process of law and the trial court finally declared him a proclaimed offender.
Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2019