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November 20, 2019

High treason case: Special Court reserves verdict in Musharraf case

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November 20, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Special Court will announce its judgment on November 28 in the high treason case against former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for imposing emergency rule in 2007.

A three-member bench of the Special Court, headed by Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth and comprising Justice Nazar Akbar and Justice Shahid Karim, reserved the judgment on the complaint, lodged by former PML-N government seeking initiation of high treason proceedings against the former president for imposing emergency rule on November 3, 2007.

In March, 2014, the former president was indicted in the case after he appeared before the court and rejected all the charges. In May, 2016,the court had declared Pervez Musharraf as an absconder under section 87 of Criminal Procedure Code and directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to produce him before it on July 12, 2016. Musharraf had expressed his willingness to face the trial under the army’s protection and on surety from the court that he would be given a safe passage to return to Dubai. During the course of hearing on Tuesday, the Registrar informed the Special Court that lawyer of Pervez Musharraf has gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Umra. The court observed that the counsel had been given the third chance to submit his arguments today.

Meanwhile, the court ruled that judgment in the instant case will be announced on November 28 and directed the counsel for Pervez Musharraf to submit his written formulations by November 26. Earlier, in pursuance of the court’s order, secretary interior appeared before the court. On October 24, the court had summoned secretary interior to explain under what law it had de-notified the prosecution team in the instant case. Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth inquired as to whether, the court's permission had been sought before removing the prosecution team. Sajid Ilyas Bhatti, Deputy Attorney General told the court that after the change in government, the head of the prosecution Akram Sheikh had tendered his resignation. Justice Shahid Karim, another member of the bench, told the law officer that since the court had summoned the secretary interior, so he should let him speak. Justice Nazar Akbar added that the attorney general’s office had no role in this case. The court then asked Sajid Ilyas Bhatti to leave the rostrum. Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth observed that the prosecution team had submitted their written arguments which was enough for the court.

Meanwhile, the court after reserving the judgment ruled that the verdict will be announced on November 28. It is pertinent to mention here that in 2013, the then PML-N government while lodging a complaint seeking initiation of high treason proceedings against the former president for imposing emergency rule on November 3, 2007 had hired a prosecution team headed by Muhammad Akram Sheikh. Sheikh had argued before the court extensively and had repeatedly pleaded the court that as Musharraf had been declared an "absconder", he should be "legally barred from making any applications or submissions" to the court.

He had further contended since the prosecution had presented the evidence and the trial has been completed hence the court should announce the final decision in the matter at the earliest. Last year in July, Akram Sheikh refused to continue as the head of the prosecution team in the high treason case.

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