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Wednesday February 28, 2024

SC admits Musharraf’s appeal after four years

November 11, 2023
Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. — AFP/File
Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Friday allowed an appeal filed by former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf four years ago challenging the Special Court’s verdict that awarded him death for committing high-treason by imposing emergency on November 3, 2007.

A four-member larger bench of the apex court — headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan and Justice Athar Minallah — heard the appeal which had not been fixed for hearing since 2019.

After admitting the appeal for regular hearing, the court directed its office to number the instant appeal and issued notices to the respondents.

The court also allowed the appeals challenging the verdict of Lahore High Court on January 13, 2020, quashing the Special Court verdict announced in the high-treason case and declaring the formation of special court as unconstitutional.

At the start of hearing, Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa clarified that no special bench was constituted for hearing the instant case adding that Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah was added to the bench because he was a part of the bench that had heard a case regarding the trial of Pervez Musharraf and had issued an order as well.

Sindh High Court Bar Association, Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and other had challenged the LHC verdict in the apex court. The PML-N government had lodged a complaint against Musharraf with the Special Court constituted for trying the former military dictator. Salman Safdar said the matter was now before the larger bench and it was not entertained earlier. To a question, the counsel told the court that he had contacted the legal heirs of late Musharraf for pursuing the case and would further seek instructions from the family members after the court order.

He further submitted that there was great frustration among the family members as to why their appeal was not allowed. Meanwhile, the court allowed the appeal of Musharraf and asked the counsel for the petitioners whether they had any objections to allowing the appeal of Musharraf. Hamid Khan, Haroon-ur-Rashid, Rashid A Rizvi and others replied in the negative. Similarly, Salman Safdar, counsel for Musharraf, told the court that he will not be in a position to assist the court on the matter of Lahore high Court verdict, as he submitted that the other counsel, including Muhammad Azhar Siddiq and Khwaja Tariq Rahim, had represented in Musharraf’s appeal in the LHC.

Meanwhile, the court directed its office to assign numbers to the appeals filed by Taufeeq Asif, Pakistan Bar Council and Sindh High Court Bar Association that had challenged the Lahore High Court verdict, quashing the Special Court verdict and declaring the formation of special Court as unconstitutional. The court also directed its Registrar Office to assign a number to the appeal filed by Hafiz Abdur Rehman Ansari and adjourned the hearing until November 21, 2023. During the hearing, Hamid Khan, Haroon-ur-Rashid, and Rashid A Rizvi termed the verdict of Lahore High Court void. They submitted that the Special Court that awarded death sentence to former president Pervez Musharraf was cognizant to deal with the matter and the purported judgment passed by Lahore High Court was void, illegal, unconstitutional and coram non juidice and the petition filed by former military dictator with the high court was not maintainable. The counsel further submitted that the high court had assailed the jurisdiction which was vested in the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the court directed all the counsel for the petitioners to assist it on the matter in hand besides directing Salman Safdar to seek instructions from the family members of the appellant (Musharraf) if they wanted to become party to the case and adjourned further hearing until Nov 21.