ISLAMABAD: Prominent lawyer and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Babar Awan on Monday claimed that the government was examining the option of challenging the conviction of former president Pervez Musharraf.
He told a press conference that if it deemed appropriate, the government could file an appeal while the convict could also challenge the decision of the special court.
Rejecting the argument that the government being the complainant in the case could not file an appeal, Mr Awan recalled that Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif had been disqualified on a federal government complaint and the government went in appeal after the change of regime. He said the high treason case against Musharraf had been filed by the ex-premier with the consultation of his brother, but they both were silent on the conviction.
The PTI leader said a debate was going on if an absconder sentenced in absentia had to surrender before the law first or his appeal could be heard in his absence. He cited the case of slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto who had been convicted while she was abroad. He said an appeal on her behalf was taken up by the then Chief Justice Irshad Hasan Khan who held that the appeal of a person convicted in absentia could be heard in his/her absence. He said the appeal had been taken up and the judgement set aside.
Babar Awan sees no clash between institutions, rules out in-house change
The PTI leader said talks about a clash of institutions were being linked with Para 66 of the detailed judgement against retired general Musharraf.
He also ruled out any in-house change and expressed the confidence that the government would complete its constitutional term. He said the government’s decision was to adopt the constitutional and legal path. He said there were reports in the media that the opposition’s Rahbar Committee had been asked to make arrangements for an in-house change. “It is not a ‘haleem’ cauldron that people add ingredients and it is ready,” he said, adding that the opposition had already failed in its attempts to destabilize the government. He said there was neither a justification for an in-house change nor any chance of its success.
Referring to the talks of clash of institutions, Mr Awan said it had been witnessed only once in 1997 when the court of the then Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah had been attacked. He said several leaders and workers of the political party, who were part of the attack, were not in the country at present.
He insisted that nobody should think of a clash between institutions as the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan had a resolve to run the institutions within their constitutional and legal framework preserving their honour and dignity.
He made it clear that the Exit Control List (ECL) rules would not be relaxed on flimsy grounds for an individual. According to the ECL law, the government could not remove the name of a convict from the no-fly list, he claimed.
That was why former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had been asked to submit a bond to get the concession of travelling as ‘a special case’ due to his ‘illness’, he said, adding that the ‘ailing’ ex-PM had not been admitted to any hospital in London. He said those who went abroad for medical treatment recovered soon after reaching London.
In reply to a question, the PTI leader said PML-N leader Ishaq Dar and his sons as well as Nawaz Sharif’s sons should return to Pakistan.
Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2019