Musharraf Verdict: ‘Everyone Who Believes in Rule of Law Should Be Terrified’

DESPARDES — The Pakistan military has taken strong exceptions to a special court’s detailed judgement in the Musharraf treason case, deeming it to be against “religion, humanity and civilization” — a view echoed by several independent observers.

“The detailed judgement, especially the choice of words, is beyond the basic values of religion, humanity and civilization,” the chief military spokesperson, Major General Asif Ghafoor, told a media briefing on Thursday, shortly after the special court issued its detailed order.

“Pakistan Army is  not only an institution but a family,” said the army’s spokesman. “Along with defending our borders, we also know how to defend the honor of our institution.”

The special court on Tuesday had convicted former army chief Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf of high treason and sentenced him to death by hanging.

In its detailed judgement issued on Thursday, the court “directed the law enforcement agencies to apprehend the fugitive/convict to ensure that the punishment is inflicted as per law, and if found dead, his corpse be dragged to the D-Chowk, Islamabad, and be hanged for 3 days” — the para 66 of the detail order has drawn severe criticism from the legal community as well as from the law ministry and the Attorney General.

The federal government also weighed in on the order saying it has decided to approach the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Seth – he is one of the three judge members of the special court which awarded the former president death sentence for declaring emergency and suspending the Constitution in Nov 2007.

Justice Seth, in his separate note which was opposed by the other two members of the bench called for a public hanging of the former military ruler –even if he meets a natural death. Musharraf –who lives in UAE undergoing treatment, was earlier declared absconder for not having been able to show up.

Law Minister Farogh Naseem said a reference will be filed against the justice, who’s not “fit to be a judge of any court”.

Justice Seth was “mentally unfit and incompetent,” he added.

“Public hanging is against the Constitution and Islam,” Naseem said, adding that “there is no provision in the Constitution which can support such observation (order)”.

“Everyone who believes in the rule of law should be terrified” –with the details of the order, said a legal expert. The trial verdict appears to have been concluded in haste, which was unprecedented, the expert added.

On Wednesday, a day after the former army chief – who hailed from the elite Special Services Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army – was sentenced to death, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited the SSG Headquarters in Tarbela in what appears to be a show of solidarity with the former chief of army staff.

“We have brought stability by failing all inimical forces operating against Pakistan. We shall never let it go away at any cost,” Gen Qamar said during the visit.

“[The] SSG is our pride with myriad contributions towards defense of country through its valiant officers and soldiers since the creation of Pakistan,“ he was quoted as saying by the DG ISPR in a tweet.

The military media’s spokesperson on Thursday told the unscheduled presser that, “We are today facing a hybrid war. We are fully aware of this changing nature and character of war. We also understand the enemy, its facilitators, supervisors and their possible designs.”

“Some people want to provoke us through internal and external attacks into fighting among ourselves in the current circumstances, and are dreaming of defeating Pakistan in this manner.

“This will not happen. If we are aware of the threat, our response too is in place.”

The treason case was first launched against Musharraf by his nemesis Nawaz Sharif in 2013.

Meanwhile, the stock market on Thursday lost its upward momentum in the wake of uncertainty linked to the release of the detailed verdict, with the KSE-100 index closing 948 points in the red at 40,655.