Who played a key role in the conviction of former president Pervez Musharraf?

Former chief justice, former prime minister, and an advocate of the top court emerge as key figures in the case

Web Desk
Nawaz Sharif (right), Akram Sheikh (bottom left) and Iftikhar Chaudhry (top left). Photo: File

Former chief justice of the Supreme Court Iftikhar Chaudhry, ex-premier Nawaz Sharif, and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Akram Sheikh played a pivotal role in the conviction of former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf for high treason, according to a report published in The News.

A special court bench comprising Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth of the Peshawar High Court, Justice Nazar Akbar of the Sindh High Court and Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court had on Tuesday convicted Musharraf for high treason and handed him the death penalty. The judges had announced the verdict that had been reserved on November 19.

The News reported that former chief justice Chaudhry played a key role in initiating the high treason proceedings against Musharraf through two actions as the top judge. One of them was a judgement of a full court, that he was heading, which had in July 2009 announced that Musharraf violated the Constitution by imposing a state of emergency in 2007.

In light of the judgement, the top court asked the government to initiate high treason proceedings against the former general. However, according to The News, the government of the Pakistan Peoples Party dragged its feet on the filing of the case. In 2013, when Nawaz Sharif became premier, the former chief justice exerted pressure on him to file the case.

Subsequently, in 2013, the former premier appeared in the National Assembly and announced the formation of a special court to try the former president for high treason. The News claimed that the former prime minister was reluctant to file the treason case, but was forced to do so on the pressure exerted on him by the former chief justice.

It is pertinent to mention that former president Musharraf was forced to resign after he was weakened politically as a result of a civil rights movement led by a group of lawyers. The movement had gained momentum after Musharraf detained the judges of the top court, including Chaudhry, accusing them of not bias in discharge of duty.

The third figure who played a key role in the conviction of the former president was Akram Sheikh, an advocate of the top court who led the prosecution team in the high treason case. According to The News, Sheikh was forced to undergo a lot of suffering and loss while pursuing the case. However, the prosecution team was successful in getting the conviction.

Originally published in The News