Musharraf treason case: Special court challenged in IHC

Eurasia News

ISLAMABAD: A petition was filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday challenging the authority of the special court set up to try former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for treason.

The counsel for Musharraf, Dr. Khalid Ranjha, filed the petition in the IHC praying that the emergency imposed on November 3, 2007 was not an individual step, and therefore Musharraf couldn’t alone be tried for the same.

The petition said that the government’s action against Musharraf under article 6 of the Constitution is being done with malicious intent. It further said that the government is pursuing Musharraf’s cases to further a political agenda.

It was also prayed that Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency while in uniform, and therefore, he could only be tried under the army act.

On Friday, lawyers for Pervez Musharraf said that a treason charge levied against him was politically motivated and that he would face a “show trial”, urging the United Nations to intervene.

The legal team also called on the United States, Britain and Saudi Arabia to denounce Musharraf’s trial to “repay their debt” for his support in the US-led “war on terror” in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

In a press conference in London, Musharraf’s barrister Steven Kay said that the hearing would be a “stage-managed show trial” with the judges picked by political opponents who are now in power.

“What we have here is a case that has started with the hand-picking of judges by the politicians, or a politician, the prime minister, in defiance of any person’s right to a trial that is fair,” Kay told reporters. He said that the trial is an “egregious example of political interference.”

Kay said the judges selected for the trial would be unable to act impartially, particularly since one of them, Faisal Arab, was sacked by Musharraf’s government.

“If you’ve been affected by what took place and then you judge it, there is a conflict of interest because you have an interest in getting retribution,” Kay told reporters.

The legal team has written to UN human rights chief Navi Pillay and UN special rapporteurs calling for the international body to “urgently intervene and ensure that the former president is not subjected to politically motivated charges”.

Barrister Toby Cadman called on Musharraf’s allies in the “war on terror” to support him, insisting this did not amount to interference in Pakistani justice.

“What is important is to ensure that voices of concern are expressed in terms of the charges which the former president faces, and recognition of his contribution to the ‘war on terror’,” Cadman said.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan had constituted the three-member special court headed by Justice Faisal Arab and comprising Justice Tahira Safdar and Justice Yawar Ali last month in response to a federal government’s request, aiming to try Musharraf under article 6 of the constitution for imposing an emergency in the country on November 3, 2007.

On December 13, the special court held its first meeting in the Federal Shariat Court to examine the complaint filed by the federal government against Musharraf and issued summons to him to appear before it on December 24.

The federal government had leveled five charges against former military ruler, according to the complaint.

The first charge was related to issuance of “an unconstitutional and unlawful ‘Proclamation of Emergency Order 2007’ which, unconstitutionally and unlawfully, held the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 in abeyance.”

The second charge was related to amending the constitution. The complaint said the former military ruler “issued an unconstitutional and unlawful Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) which empowered him to amend the constitution.”

According to the third charge, Musharraf “issued an unconstitutional and unlawful “Oath of Office (Judges) Order 2007.” The fourth offence against the former president was that he issued a “Constitution (Amendment) Order 2007 and unconstitutionally and unlawfully amended the constitution, and Article 270AAA was added to the constitution.”

The fifth charge was the issuance of “Constitution (Second Amendment) Order 2007.”