Musharraf urges LHC to stay high treason trial by special court

Updated 14 Dec 2019

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Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf faces a high treason trial before a special court in Islamabad. — AFP/File
Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf faces a high treason trial before a special court in Islamabad. — AFP/File

Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on Saturday filed an application in the Lahore High Court (LHC), urging it to stay the proceedings pending before a special court in Islamabad which is seized with the high treason case against him.

Filed through advocates Khawaja Ahmad Tariq Raheem and Azhar Siddique, the petition asks the court to stay the trial at the special court until Musharraf's earlier petition pending adjudication by the LHC is decided. In that petition, the former dictator had challenged the formation of a special court holding his trial under charges of high treason and legal flaws committed in the procedure.

Musharraf's latest application comes after the three-member special court earlier this month said it would announce verdict in the high treason case on December 17 after hearing the arguments of the government’s new prosecution team.

The application contends that the entire proceedings pending before the special court — from the initiation of the complaint and submission of the final challan to the appointment of the prosecutor and the constitution of the special court itself — are in violation of Articles 90 and 91 of the Constitution and previous Supreme Court judgements.

It says that the proceedings in the high treason case had not been initiated by the federal government in terms of Articles 90 and 91 read with the rules of business and parameters laid down by the Supreme Court in the 2016 Mustafa Impex case judgment — through which the apex court had settled law which had to be applied retrospectively.

According to the application, the complaint against Musharraf had been filed on the directions of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 2013 who "in isolation" was directly aggrieved by the act of the former president. It was filed without following the procedure regarding consultation and approval of the cabinet which is in defiance of the Constitution and principles set out by the apex court, it says.

"It is also an admitted position that the mandatory procedure as set out in the High Treason Act, 1973, as well as Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1976, has not been followed in letter and spirit," the application states, adding that no approval had been taken from the federal government and the matter had not been placed before the cabinet.

It requests the court to stay the proceedings of the special court until the writ petition pending before the LHC is decided. It also asks the high court to direct the federal government to produce the complete trial record of the special court for the purpose of "adequate and full adjudication" of the petition on the principles of merit as well as on the constitutional issues raised in it.

The application will be heard by LHC's Justice Syed Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi on Monday.

Musharraf was booked in Dec 2013 for imposing the state of emergency on Nov 3, 2007, and suspending the Constitution till the mid of Dec 2007. He was declared a proclaimed offender by a special court in the high treason case.