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SC urged to overturn IHC order in Musharraf case

ISLAMABAD: The Sup­reme Court was asked on Th­u­rsday to overturn the Nov 27 Islamabad High Court (IHC) order of restraining the special court from announcing its verdict in the treason trial of former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf.

“It is respectfully prayed that the impugned judgment be set aside in view of April 4, 2019, judgement of this court,” said the appeal moved by Taufiq Asif, a former president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association, through his counsel, Sheikh Ahsan-ud-din.

On April 4, the Supreme Court had held that the treason trial of Pervez Musharraf was a case of paramount importance under the Constitution and should be conducted expeditiously.

The verdict had stated that the control over proceedings of the trial cannot be allowed to vest in the accused, adding that the former president would lose his legal right to defend himself if he failed to turn up before the special court conducting his trial for imposing emergency on Nov 3, 2007.

The decree was passed by the Supreme Court to help the special court reach a logical conclusion. The decree carried a clear directive to go ahead with the treason case against Pervez Musharraf without recording his statement under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in case he did not show up before the trial court, the verdict had explained.

On Nov 26, the Lahore High Court Bar Association approached the Supreme Court seeking a direction for the special court to comply with the apex court’s order and “proceed expeditiously with due diligence”.

But on Nov 27, the IHC allowed identical petitions of complainants, the interior ministry and Musharraf’s counsel, and stopped the special court from announcing its verdict.

Now in his fresh petition, Taufiq Asif stated before the Supreme Court that the IHC order was contrary to the Constitution and the law, adding since the special court was set up under Section 4(1) of the Criminal Laws Amendment (Special Court) Act 1976, no writ petition was competent before the high court.

The petition argued that the Supreme Court, for the first time after promulgation of the 1973 constitution, had laid down a procedure to be followed by the special court. The high court stands barred under Article 199(5) of the constitution from entertaining writ petitions, the appeal contended.

Under Article 12(3) of the special court act 1976, the right of appeal was available to the complainant, the app­eal said, adding that the interior ministry was emp­loying different tactics to avoid an early decision of the treason trial, the petition alleged.

The ministry of interior, Pervez Musharraf, the special court and the federal government have been named respondents in the appeal.

 

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