High treason case: LHC admits Musharraf’s petition to stay special court proceedings

LHC schedules next hearing for November 28 the same day special court is set to announce its decision in the case


Rana Yasif November 26, 2019
Pervez Musharraf. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday allowed for hearing Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s petition to stay special court proceedings against him in the high treason case.

Justice Sayyed Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi overruled the objections raised by the registrar’s office and scheduled its hearing for November 28 - the same day the special court is said to announce its verdict.

Former president Pervez Musharraf had petitioned the LHC to stay the special court proceedings until he recuperates and appears before the court in person.

The three-judge special court – headed by Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth – had reserved its verdict on November 19 while rejecting the interior ministry’s request for more time to notify a new prosecution team to wrap up the case. It had also rejected a request from Musharraf’s counsel to adjourn hearings and noted that the defence could also submit its written arguments by November 26.

The court is scheduled to hand down its verdict on November 28 in the absence of Musharraf, who had flown to the UAE in May 2016 for ‘medical treatment’ and has not returned since to face the court.

Govt seeks to stop Musharraf treason case verdict

During the hearing, Justice Naqvi asked whether any petition was filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Musharraf’s counsel Khawaja Tariq Rahim responded that the interior ministry did file a petition in the IHC.

Justice Naqvi then stated that the Supreme Court had given directions to the special court, to which Musharraf’s counsel replied that the formation of a special court is illegal and was formed on the directives of the then prime minister, instead of getting an approval from the cabinet.

He questioned whether Musharraf travelled abroad with the court’s permission, to which the counsel replied in affirmative and said Musharraf will face the decision of the tribunal whenever he lands in Pakistan.

High treason

According to Article 6 of the 1973 Constitution, any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.

And a person found guilty of high treason as defined in Article 6 of the Constitution, shall be punishable with death or imprisonment for life.

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