Law ministry refuses to share details of legal team hired to prosecute Musharraf

Umar Cheema
Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: The law ministry on Friday rejected an application seeking details of the legal team hired to prosecute former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf on treason charges, and the fees paid to them by saying that its a classified matter.

Mukhtar Ahmed Ali had sought the details under the Right of Access to Information Act 2017, commonly known as RTI law. He wanted to know how judiciously the money contributed by public through their taxes is being used by the ministry.

According to applicant Ali, the ministry declared him ineligible to post such inquiries. In its reply, the ministry referred to a Cabinet Division notification's issued in 1993, but it did not explain or share the contents of the notification. The reply also stated that the ministry has claimed exemption by saying it has been declared “classified, therefore, your request is hereby declined on this aspect”.

A month ago, Ali had sought answers to four questions. He asked for the list of the members of the prosecution team, and relevant law firms engaged for Musharraf’s trial under Article 6 of the Constitution and the fees paid to them.

He also sought details of out-of-pocket expenses (e.g. travel, lodging, meal) reimbursed to them. He also asked for the fee break-up paid to each member of the legal team.

After the ministry’s refusal, Mukhtar has approached Pakistan Information Commission, an appellant body set up under the RTI law for dealing with the complaints lodged by the applicants against the government.

In a rejoinder sent to the ministry, Mukhtar said his application has been rejected without being given due consideration as the ministry “has not even bothered to consider Article 19A and the (Right of Access to Information) Act in the course of deciding my application.”

Originally published in The News