Friday Nov 20, 2015

Govt to pursue high treason case against Musharraf

Govt to pursue high treason case against Musharraf
ISLAMABAD: The government will pursue the high-treason case against General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, the Nawaz Sharif governtment’s Special Prosecutor in the case and senior SC Advocate Akram Sheikh said.

Talking to The News here on Thursday, the special prosecutor said that following the recent Islamabad High Court’s decision, he had received the government’s instruction to pursue the case.

“There is no change in the instructions,” Sheikh said, adding that he had been directed to prepare for the case, which “shall” be pursued. Sheikh said that after the recent IHC decision, he had contacted the government for directions in the high-profile case, which was considered one of the reasons for differences between the civil and military leadership.

It is believed that the high-treason trial of Musharraf, who had abrogated the Constitution twice, was not welcomed by the military establishment. Though the government had initiated the former dictator’s trial on the apex court’s instructions yet it faced serious problems from what had been generally referred to as the remnants of Musharraf.

The 2014 decision of the Special Court to include former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, ex-Chief Justice of Pakistan Abdul Hameed Dogar and former law minister Zahid Hamid as abettors in the high-treason case had disappointed the government, which appeared to have lost interest in the case.

The government avoided to challenge the Special Court’s decision. However, Aziz, Dogar and Hamid approached the IHC against the decision. Initially, a single bench of the IHC had stopped the Special Court from proceeding in the matter but recently a division bench of the IHC set aside the November 21, 2014 order of the Special Court where it had directed the federal government to include the names of Zahid Hamid, Abdul Hameed Dogar and Shaukat Aziz as abettors in General Musharraf’s act of imposing emergency.

In this nine-page judgment, Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi and Justice Aamir Farooq severely admonished the federal government and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for poor investigation and directed it for re-investigation. Moreover, the court reminded the investigation agency of the consequences it could face for willful negligence in conducting the investigation.

According to Akram Sheikh, the Special Court will resume hearing the case from November 27. He said the government had stated before the IHC that it was willing to re-investigate the case.

Sheikh said the FIA could get a statement from Pervez Musharraf in order to know who his accomplices were in the Nov 3, 2007 unconstitutional act.

According to the IHC order, the federal government had admitted to its defective investigation which was not concluded as prescribed by the law. “As a result now, the federal government is willing to get the case re-investigated. Under such an eventuality, this court observes that the legal course is necessary to be adopted for investigation,” the IHC order said.

Regarding the time period for the conclusion of the investigation, the IHC decision said that it was to be decided by the Special Court as it was its discretion.—Originally published in The News