For the first time in the judicial history of Pakistan, a Special Court has initiated high treason proceedings against a former military ruler by summoning Pervez Musharraf on December 24 for his trial under Article 6 of Constitution. During a meeting of the Special Court on Friday in Federal Shariat Court building Justice Faisal Arab of the Sindh High Court, Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali Khan of the Lahore High Court and Justice Tahira Safdar of the Balochistan High Court decided to serve the notice on Musharraf.
The court’s Registrar, Abdul Ghani Soomro told media persons that the government’s complaint had been admitted and the court had summoned the accused (Pervez Musharraf) on December 24. He also said that the venue for the trial had not yet been decided. Meanwhile, it has been learnt that Musharraf’s legal team has already started consultation to challenge the special court’s summons in the Supreme Court.
It is to be noted that a seven-member panel comprising Sharifuddin Pirzada, Khalid Ranjha, Ilyas Siddiqui, Ahmed Raza Kasuri, Ibrahim Satti, Anwar Mansoor and Waqar Rana will defend Musharraf. Earlier, Ahmad Raza Khan Kasuri had told journalists that the promulgation of November 3, 2007; Emergency could not be challenged in any civilian court as Musharraf took that step as the army chief.
He also said that no military act could be challenged in any civil court and this would be one of their key arguments to defend Musharraf before the special court. Citing the National Logistic Cell (NLC) corruption case, Kasuri said that some senior military officers were not presented before the civilian court and were tried by a military court.
There is a speculation that one member of special court may recuse to hear the case against Musharraf. Earlier, the federal government on Thursday filed a complaint in a special court with five charges for the trial of Musharraf for high treason.
Interior Secretary Shahid Khan had submitted the complaint to the special court’s Registrar, Abdul Ghani Soomro, against Musharraf for the offence of high treason under Article 6 of the constitution, read with section 3 of the high treason (Punishment Act 1973) and section 5 of the criminal law amendment (special court) Act, 1976. The government has prayed the special court that Musharraf should be summoned for his trial, convicted and punished in accordance with law and the constitution.
The government has charged Musharraf with issuing an unconstitutional and unlawful emergency on November 3, 2007 which, “unconstitutionally and unlawfully,” held the constitution in abeyance, which constitutes the “subversion of constitution and commission of the offence of high treason.” Second charge is that Musharraf issued the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) on November 3, 2007 as army chief which “unconstitutionally and unlawfully” empowered the president to amend the constitution from time to time. He has also been accused of suspending the fundamental rights enshrined in Articles 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 19 and 25 of the constitution.
The ex-army chief has also been charged with issuing an unconstitutional and unlawful “Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2007” which required a judge to abide by the provisions of the Proclamation of Emergency and the PCO. The fourth accusation is that on November 20, 2007, as the president, he issued an “unconstitutional and unlawful” Order 5 of 2007 “Constitution (Amendment) Order, 2007” whereby Articles 175, 186-A, 198, 218, 270B and 270C were “unconstitutionally and unlawfully” amended and Article 270AAA was added to the constitution, thereby “subverting the constitution.” The fifth charge is that on December 14, 2007 he issued an “unconstitutional and unlawful” Order 6 of 2007 “Constitution (Second Amendment) Order, 2007” whereby the constitution was unconstitutionally and unlawfully amended. The government has contended that sufficient material was available on record which calls for the prosecution of Musharraf for the offence of high treason, which is punishable under Section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973.
A three-member bench on July 3, 2013, in view of the federal government’s undertaking given on June 26, 2013, while disposing of the petitions that demanded registration of high treason case against Musharraf, directed the government to conclude the investigation without unnecessary delay.
Source: Recorder Report