Musharraf told to testify in high treason case

Published November 29, 2019
The special court seized with the high treason case on Thursday put on hold its verdict and urged former military ruler retired Gen Pervez Musharraf to appear in court in order to record his statement. — AFP/File
The special court seized with the high treason case on Thursday put on hold its verdict and urged former military ruler retired Gen Pervez Musharraf to appear in court in order to record his statement. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The special court seized with the high treason case on Thursday put on hold its verdict and urged former military ruler retired Gen Pervez Musharraf to appear in court in order to record his statement.

The court, however, made it clear that there will be no adjo­urnment at any cost for day-to-day proceedings from the next date of hearing, which is Dec 5.

The three-judge special court, headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth, with Justice Nazar Akbar and Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court as members, directed the Ministry of Interior to “nominate prosecutor or a team of prosecution and direct them to come prepared on Dec 5, 2019, for their arguments”.

The court warned that “even otherwise, we are bound by the judgement of the apex court dated April 4, 2019” that had set a guideline for expeditious completion of the trial pending before the special court since December 2013.

Special court to start daily hearing on Dec 5

The court directed the defence counsel to submit written arguments in rebuttal before the date fixed.

Likewise, the court held that all the miscellaneous applicat­ions, including one seeking acq­u­i­ttal of Mr Musharraf in the treason case, “shall be decided along with the main case so there will be no adjournment at any cost for a day-to-day proceeding”.

The special court acknowledged the receipt of a short order of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) dated Nov 27 in which the special court was restrained from announcing its verdict in the treason trial.

However, the court remarked, “without commenting upon the maintainability and jurisdiction of the said petition…before the Islamabad High Court, we direct the representative of the ministry of interior to nominate the prosecutor”.

It may be mentioned that the IHC in its order of Nov 27 disposed of the petition while dir­ecting the government to “notify the prosecutor or a team of the prosecution, as the case may be, on or before December 5, 2019”.

The IHC further asked the special court to “fix a date for affording a reasonable opportunity of hearing to the notified prosecutor or the prosecution team, as the case may be, as well as the counsel appointed for the accused under section 11(2) of the Criminal Laws Amendment (Special Court) Act, 1976”.

The high court expected that the special court would take into consideration the grounds raised in the application seeking acquittal of Mr Musharraf before announcing the final verdict and it would conclude the proceedings expeditiously, with due regard for the cardinal principles of fair trial. Moreover, the IHC also allowed the counsel for Mr Musharraf to argue the case before the special court.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2019

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