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November 18, 2013

Musharraf alone will be the focus of Article 6 trial

 
November 18, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The FIA inquiry into the Nov 3, 2009 abrogation of the Constitution seeks the trial of General Pervez Musharraf and other implementers under Article 6 of the Constitution, it is learnt.
Although the inquiry report of the FIA would be part of the reference to be sent to the Supreme Court for the constitution of a three-member special court comprising high court judges, the government intends to focus the case on Musharraf alone as per the July 31, 2009 decision of the Supreme Court.
The FIA, which would be the prosecutor in this trial of Musharraf under Article 6, did not find anyone on the civilian side to be part of the Nov 3 unconstitutional order of Musharraf. However, on the military side, the agency did not get access to the GHQ’s record.
In the form of the Nov 3 PCO of General Pervez Musharraf, the FIA got concrete documentary evidence against the former dictator to book him for high treason. Though there was no other conspirator in the preparation of the Nov 3 unconstitutional order of Musharraf, there have been certain authorities that played their role to implement the dictator’s illegal and unconstitutional action.
The then prime minister, his cabinet, the interior ministry and a few khakis are considered to have played their role in the implementation of the Nov 3 action of Musharraf.
But despite the FIA’s conclusion to proceed under Article 6 against Musharraf and other implementers, the government does not want to complicate the whole case and would prefer to get strength from the SC’s July 31, 2009 decision which held Musharraf alone responsible for this serious crime.
In his press conference, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan used the word “commission” but in fact the government is referring the case to the SC for setting up of a three-member special court comprising high court judges to try Musharraf under the High Treason (Punishment) Act 1973.
If convicted, Musharraf will earn capital punishment

or life imprisonment. Musharraf’s trial will be unique in the history of Pakistan, as it will be the first-ever in the country’s history since Article 6 was inserted into the Constitution and the relevant law was made to execute this constitutional provision.
According to the law, no court shall take cognizance of a high treason charge except upon a complaint in writing made by a person designated by the government, which may assign this job to the attorney general or appoint a prosecutor general to represent it in such trial.
According to the law, an offence of simple treason punishable under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and an offence under The High Treason (Punishment) Act whether committed before or after the commencement of the Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act 1976 will be tried by special court.
The law was enacted to provide for the trial by the special court of offences affecting the security, integrity or sovereignty of Pakistan, including offences of high treason.
The 1976 law was made in aid of High Treason (Punishment) Act 1973, which was very brief. It says it is necessary to provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of acts of abrogation or subversion of Constitution or of high treason.
A person, who is found guilty of having committed an act of abrogation or subversion of a Constitution in force in Pakistan at any time since the 23rd day of March 1956; or of high treason as defined in Article 6; be punishable with death or imprisonment for life.
This act further says the federal government will forward to the special court, on behalf of the prosecution, a complaint in the form of a statement of the case to be tried by it, together with the list of accused persons, formal charges of offences alleged to have committed by each one of them and a list of witnesses intended to be presented in support of each charge.
Originally, it was the government that used to constitute the special court but after the separation of the judiciary and the executive, the government will request the SC to set up the same.

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