PTI dithers on appealing high treason case verdict

One group in PTI is said to be opposed to approaching Supreme Judicial Council


Hasnaat Malik December 24, 2019
PM Imran Khan (L) and Former dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

ISLAMABAD: The government seems to be in two minds whether or not to file an appeal against the detailed judgment in the high treason case against former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf, it emerged on Monday.

“Not only this, but it is also undecided about filing a reference against Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth for authoring paragraph No 66 of the detailed judgment,” sources told The Express Tribune.

Justice Seth headed the three-judge special court that convicted Gen Musharraf and awarded him death sentence on five counts.

This shows the level of indecision within the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government as only days after the pronouncement of the verdict, top functionaries had told the media that the Ministry of Law and Justice has commenced work on the reference to be filed against Justice Seth.

The sources say one group in the PTI is vehemently opposed to the idea of approaching the Supreme Judicial Council or filing an appeal on Musharraf’s behalf, citing legal hitches as well as the political cost.

“They are of the opinion that the move will be embarrassing for Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had all along been a vocal proponent of Musharraf to be charged under Article 6 of the Constitution,” the sources added.

If Musharraf dies, hang corpse at D-Chowk: Justice Seth

Also, PTI leaders Ali Muhammad Khan and Nadeem Afzal Chan are conspicuous by their silence over the main judgment against Musharraf which can be inferred as their tacit approval of the judgment.

Even Prime Minister Imran Khan has not yet given any statement on social media or the mainstream media against the special court verdict.

One section within the PTI has raised the question as to how the government can challenge the special court ruling when it is the complainant in the case.

They, however, say the federation will be respondent in case it files an appeal in the treason case verdict and can support his stance during the proceedings.

It is learned that Musharraf's lawyer, Salman Safdar, is expected to file an appeal against the treason case verdict this week. It is not yet clear, however, whether the appeal will be filed by Musharraf or his political party -- All Pakistan Muslim League.

Moreover, some government functionaries want the renowned lawyer, Makhdoom Ali Khan, to argue the case in the apex court.

A former attorney general for Pakistan says that only an aggrieved person can approach the apex court for the expungement of the special court's remarks.

He wonders whether an appeal can be filed in respect of Para 66 of the judgment as it is not the operative part of the majority judgment.

A senior government official, however, says that the Musharraf case is not a big issue for the executive as compared to the army chief's tenure extension case wherein the apex court had given the government six months to carry out legislation.

He admits that a review petition has limited scope and it can only be filed when clarity is required and that larger bench will be constituted to hear the matter.

‘Mentally unfit, incompetent’: Govt to move SJC against judge over Musharraf treason verdict

Under the Supreme Court Rules, those judges who authored the original verdict hear the review petition.

It is also learned that one section within the PTI has been active against Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem and Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan regarding their failure to deliver in high-profile cases related to the security establishment.

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