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June 13, 2014

Govt will go to SC in Musharraf ECL case

June 13, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The federal government would go into appeal in the Supreme Court against the SHC’s decision in order to prevent the former dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf from going abroad during his trial under the most serious charge of high treason.
Sources told The News that the decision to this respect was already taken recently by the government when it was discussed that the SHC might allow Musharraf to go abroad.In a high level meeting of top ruling party leaders, it was decided that the governmentdecided that the government would challenge the decision if the SHC directed to remove Musharraf’s name from the ECL.
It is known to all now that the military establishment wants Musharraf’s safe exit from Pakistan but the government believes that any such concession offered to the former dictator would serve as a serious jolt to rule of law in Pakistan.
The government believes that not only the Supreme Court direction is a major hurdle in letting Musharraf go out of Pakistan, such a concession if offered to Musharraf would be in violation of the fundamental rights besides being against public interest.
The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday ordered the removal of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf´s name from the Exit Control List (ECL), however the court has suspended the operation of its order for 15 days. During this 15-day period, the government may appeal before the Supreme Court against the order. If the government does not appeal in the stipulated time, Musharraf will be free to travel abroad.
In its recent advice to the government, the law ministry besides referring to the 2013 SC direction of putting Musharraf’s name on the ECL referred to certain other factors impeding Musharraf’s leaving Pakistan.
It was said that Gen (R) Musharraf is facing multiple charges in various courts of different federating units. In any case, whether he is on bail or otherwise, it remains a legal obligation of federal government to ensure

his appearance and production before the concerned courts in order to fulfill the mandate of Articles 9, 10 and 10A of the Constitution. His absence from Pakistan may gravely prejudice the rights of private complainants who have reposed their confidence in the judicial system of Pakistan, the law ministry advice said.
It added that Musharraf is also begin tried for the offence of high treason under Article 6 of the Constitution before the Special Court where in the course of 36 hearings his attendance could be ensured only twice for one reason or the other. “Prima facie it appears that the accused may be avoiding trial. In the interest of justice and to fulfill a constitutional obligation to take the trial to its logical conclusion and to ensure substantial compliance of Articles 9, 10 and 10A of the Constitution it is imperative that he remains present in the country. His absence from Pakistan will cause grave and serious prejudice to the ends of justice by impeding the trials,” the ministry said.
The law ministry was also of the view that sending him abroad will amount to creating an exception which will impinge upon the fundamental right of equal treatment guaranteed by Article 25 to all other persons facing trials and would be against public interest.

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