PPP, PML-N lawmakers reject LHC verdict in Musharraf case

Published January 14, 2020
The former president was sentenced to death by a special court in Islamabad on Dec 17 last year, six years after the start of the trial. — INP/File
The former president was sentenced to death by a special court in Islamabad on Dec 17 last year, six years after the start of the trial. — INP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) expressed surprise and reservations on Monday over the judgement of the Lahore High Court on the appeal of former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf against his conviction by the special court in the high treason case.

In a statement, issued by PPP’s central media office, party MNA Dr Nafisa Shah said the verdict had baffled her. “Today is an unfortunate day for the rule of law,” the PPP lawmaker said.

The three-member LHC bench declared the formation of the special court — which heard the high treason case against former military dictator Gen Musharraf and handed him a death sentence after finding him guilty of treason — as “unconstitutional”. The LHC bench, which was hearing Gen Musharraf’s petitions against the verdict, also ruled that the treason case against the former army chief was not prepared in accordance with the law.

The former president was sentenced to death by a special court in Islamabad on Dec 17 last year, six years after the start of the trial.

The case was filed by the PML-N government against Gen Musharraf for suspending the Constitution on Nov3, 2007, and imposing emergency.

Dr Shah said that the special court which convicted Gen Musharraf in the high treason case last month had been constituted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and it consisted of judges from three high courts of the country. She was of the view that the appeal against the verdict should have been filed in the Supreme Court and not in the high court.

She said that a case with regard to judicial murder of PPP founder and former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had been awaiting hearing for the last eight years whereas an appeal against the conviction of a military dictator had been decided within days.

Dr Shah also said that killers of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto had also not been arrested so far.

Talking to Dawn, PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan expressed reservations over the verdict.

He said that despite the LHC’s judgement, he would pay tribute to Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth, the head of the special court, which convicted Gen Musharraf in the case.

The PML-N leader said that the whole world saw “dictator Gen Musharraf” abrogating the Constitution and putting his boots on it and everyone saw the military ruler threatening and then killing Baloch Sardar Nawab Akbar Bugti.

He said that the media also showed pictures of manhandling of the then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry on the roads of Islamabad and it was Gen Musharraf who had put judges under the house arrest.

The PML-N senator recalled how Gen Musharraf had boasted on May 12, 2007, after several people were killed in Karachi, adding that people still remembered the military ruler’s speech of the day when he had declared that “they have shown their might in Karachi”.

Mr Khan said the list of Gen Musharraf’s “crimes” was very long. He said it was strange that despite all this, there were people who still believed that Musharraf should not be convicted.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2020

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