PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday allowed a lawyer to amend his petition seeking the prosecution of certain government functionaries over the alleged contempt of a special court, which had sentenced former military ruler retired General Pervez Musharraf to death Dec last year for committing high treason.

Petitioner Malik Mohammad Ajmal Khan told a bench consisting of Justice Roohul Amin Khan Chamkani and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim that he wanted to amend his petition to remove the names of five of the respondents, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, from it due to the unavailability of evidence of court contempt against them.

He requested the court to permit him to submit an amended petition as the evidence of committing contempt was available against federal law minister Barrister Farogh Naseem and special assistants to prime minister, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Shahzad Akbar.

The bench accepted his request and directed him to submit an amended petition after making required changes in it.

Mr Ajmal had filed the petition under Article 204 of the Constitution read with Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003.

Petitioner seeks action against minister, two PM aides

The respondents in the petition were Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, former president retired General Pervez Musharraf, former ISPR Director General Major-General Asif Ghafoor, and others.

The petitioner said the federal government had constituted a special court after filing a complaint against retired General Musharraf.

He said the charge was framed against Musharraf on Feb 18, 2014, while he left the country thereafter and avoided trial.

The petitioner said Musharraf was declared a proclaimed offender and many opportunities were given to him to appear before the court but he didn’t turn up, so the proceedings progressed leading to his conviction and death sentence on Dec 17, 2019.

Mr Ajmal claimed that after the judgment was pronounced by the special court, some respondents through a news conference committed its contempt whose details were published by different newspapers and aired by news channels.

The petitioner said the respondents had leveled allegation against the head of the special court, Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, the chief justice of the Peshawar High Court, and had accused him for acting in an arbitrary manner and with personal hostility.

He added that those were serious allegations amounting to scandalising the judge and the court as well.

Few days ago, another contempt petition was filed by lawyer Syed Azizuddin Kakakhel against different state functionaries on almost the same grounds seeking their disqualification from holding their respective offices.

In that petition, the respondents include Prime Minister Imran Khan, federal ministers Barrister Faroogh Naseem and Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, special assistants to the prime minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Shehzad Akbar, former attorney general Anwar Mansoor Khan, and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority chairman.

The petitioner said just like former Senator Nehal Hashmi was convicted in a contempt case and was disqualified for five years from holding any public office, the current respondents should be convicted in the same manner.

Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2020