ISLAMABAD: The special court seized with the high treason case against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on Thursday directed the newly appointed prosecution team to conclude its final arguments by Dec 17.

Mr Musharraf is facing the high treason trial for subverting the Constitution by proclaming a state of emergency in the country on Nov 3, 2007.

When the special court started proceedings on Thursday, the new prosecution team of the government appeared before it.

Advocate Ali Zia Bajwa said he and Munir Hussain Bhatti had been appointed prosecutors in the case. He said that he received his appointment notification on Wednesday with a 3,000 pages record of the case. He pleaded with the court to grant the new prosecution team some time to read the record of the case. He said that he would not depend on arguments of the previous prosecution team.

The three-judge special court comprising Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth, Justice Nazar Akbar of the Sindh High Court and Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court expressed displeasure as the defence counsel did not rebut the arguments filed by the previous prosecution team.

The previous prosecution team headed by Dr Tariq Hassan was de-notified by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government on Nov 23 at the time when the high treason trial against Mr Musharraf was about to conclude.

The previous prosecution team submitted written arguments in the court during the proceeding on Nov 24 as its head told the court that he was unaware about the fact that the government had denotified the prosecution team.

The special court on Thursday observed, “despite clear directions to the defence counsel for filing of written arguments prior to today’s date of hearing in rebuttal to the written arguments already submitted by the previous prosecutors, he failed to submit the same”.

The court directed him “to argue the case on the next date of hearing immediately after the conclusion of the arguments of newly appointed special prosecutors”.

The court when asked the newly appointed special prosecutors to argue the case the prosecutors replied that since they had been notified a day earlier, they required time to prepare the arguments.

The special court granted them time till Dec 17 after the prosecutors had given undertaking that they would not seek further adjournment at any cost.

The court asked them in case they could not attend the court’s proceeding on the next date they would submit written arguments two days prior to that date.

The case has been adjourned till Dec 17.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2019