LAHORE: Former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf on Saturday asked the Lahore High Court (LHC) to declare unconstitutional proceedings pending before a special court and all actions against him — from initiation of the high treason complaint to the appointment of the prosecutor and constitution of the trial court.

In a civil miscellaneous application, the former military ruler termed the entire proceedings a violation of Articles 90 and 91 of the Constitution.

The application filed through Advocate Azhar Siddique stated that the main petition was fixed for hearing on Dec 17 before the LHC wherein a federal law officer sought a short adjournment in order to obtain instructions from the quarters concerned, including the interior secretary.

It said the complaint against Mr Musharraf had been filed on directives of the then prime minister to the then interior secretary for initiation of proceedings, who in isolation was directly aggrieved by the act of the petitioner.

Ex-president terms the entire proceedings violation of Articles 90 and 91 of Constitution

It argued that the complaint had been filed without adopting procedure qua consultation and approval of the cabinet required under the law and the principle set by the Supreme Court in Mustafa Impex judgement. It said that mandatory procedure as set in the High Treason Act 1973 as well as the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1976 had not been followed in letter and spirit.

The application pointed out that after perusing the report and para-wise comments of the ministries of interior and law filed with the main writ petition, it transpired that the very basis of filing of a complaint was not only illegal, without jurisdiction, but in violation of the Supreme Court judgement. The record further revealed that no declaration had been made by the SC that an offence of high treason had been committed in view of Article 6 of the Constitution and the decision was left to the federal government.

The application contended that the matter of jurisdiction with regards to filing of a complaint, appointment of a prosecution team and the formation of a special court could not be decided by the special court itself, as the trial court was a creation of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1976.

It also said that all these questions needed to be decided by the LHC and for this purpose the special court was required to be stopped from further proceeding with the high treason case.

Since the special court is scheduled to announce its verdict on Dec 17, the application urged the high court to immediately suspend all actions, including filing of the complaint, submission of challan, appointment of a prosecution team and constitution of the trial court.

Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi will take up the application on Monday.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2019