Petition Filed By Govt to Halt Nov 28 Musharraf Treason Case Verdict –On Legal Grounds

The government had denotified its prosecution team. Still the final hearing was held with the team making its final arguments to the special court.

DESPARDES — The interior ministry on Monday filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), requesting it to set aside a special court’s decision to reserve its judgement in the case.

Reason: Technical grounds raised by plaintiff (the government). Defendant is former president Pervez Musharraf for declaring a state of emergency on November 3, 2007.

The special court on November 19 had conducted a hearing and ruled that a verdict would be announced on November 28 (Thursday) on the basis of available record.

The court on that day had concluded the trial proceedings against Musharraf.

Representing and arguing on behalf of the government at the hearing was a prosecution team which the government weeks earlier (on October 24) had informed the court it had sacked the entire prosecution team engaged by the previous PML-N government to prosecute the high treason case against the former president.

Musharraf in October 1999 (at that time the Army Chief) had become the Chief Executive after the military stepped in ovethrowing PML-N government then led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

It was Sharif’s second stint as the premier.

According to the state’s petition filed today, the prosecution team– formed during Sharif’s third stint in power as PM– after being denotified on October 23, 2019, had no authority to file written arguments on behalf of the federal government, nor to represent it at the hearing on Oct 24. Therefore, any verdict issued on the basis of these written arguments filed unlawfully “cannot be deemed to be a judgement [passed] after hearing the prosecution”, it states.

The ministry has requested the IHC to set aside the special court’s Nov 19 order to reserve its judgement in the treason case. It adds that in the interim, the operation of the order be suspended, and the interior ministry be given the opportunity to renotify a prosecution team for the case.

The petition filed with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has asked it to restrain the special court fromissuing its final judgement in the case until the requirements of Section 6 of the Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act, 1976, have been complied with.

The petition filed by the interior ministry has stated that the special court’s decision to reserve its verdict in the case is in violation of the Constitution because it was issued without giving the ministry the opportunity to notify a new prosecution team in the case and because the judgement is set to be passed without hearing the prosecution during the trial.

Original report by Dawn