PBC expresses concern over repatriation of Musharraf's body on 'taxpayer' money

Apex regularity body of lawyers says former military ruler was 'absconder' of Constitution

Hasnaat Malik February 06, 2023
Former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE


Executive members of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the apex regularity body of lawyers, on Monday expressed serious concerns regarding the provision of extraordinary protocol for the repatriation of former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf's body.

PBC Chairperson Hasan Raza Pasha and Vice-Chairperson Haroon-ur-Rashid expressed their condolences on the demise of Musharraf but claimed that the return of the ex-army chief’s mortal remains through sending a special plane to the UAE on the expenditure of the Pakistani taxpayer would be a “great loss” to the exchequer, especially during the current economic condition.

A statement by the PBC maintained that Musharraf “usurped the power after a coup in October 1999 and ruled in Pakistan as Former Army Chief and then President of Pakistan till 2008 while abrogating the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, and was guilty of high treason under Article 6 of the Constitution”.

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It furthered that he subverted the Constitution twice, first on October 12, 1999, and on November 3, 2007, when he imposed an emergency thus suspending the Constitution.

They expressed that the special court awarded the death sentence to him in the case of high treason under Article 6 for abrogating the Constitution.

“He was [an] absconder of Pakistani Courts and should not be given official protocol being convicted person,” the statement said.

It added that the PBC “filed [an] appeal against Pervaiz Musharraf in high treason case which is still pending before [the] honourable Supreme Court”.

The council also paid tribute to the late Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth, the former chief justice of the Peshawar High Court (PHC), for his historic judgment in the high treason case against Pervez Musharraf.

The statement maintained that the “Pakistan Bar Council and legal fraternity had always resisted against unconstitutional steps of usurpers”.

“The institution of [the] Army is very dear to the people of Pakistan as [the] defender of the homeland and it should perform its duties and functions prescribed under [the] Constitution of Pakistan and should not violate its Oath”.

It further said that the lawyer community was committed to striving for protecting the Constitution, the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in Pakistan.

Musharraf, who had been living in Dubai since 2016, breathed his last on Sunday at the age of 79.

The former president and army chief was suffering from amyloidosis, a rare disease caused by a build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in organs and tissues throughout the body, according to his family.

The build-up of amyloid proteins (deposits) can make it difficult for the organs and tissues to work properly.

According to the sources, a chartered plane would reach Dubai from Islamabad on Monday, alongside his family members, to transport the body to the country.

However, a Pakistan air force source told AFP that Musharraf’s body would be flown back to Pakistan aboard a civilian liner or UAE air force jet.

APML Information Secretary Tahir Hussain said the family had confirmed that Musharraf’s body would be brought to Karachi on Monday through a special plane.

Musharraf seized power in a 1999 bloodless coup and was acting simultaneously as Pakistan’s army chief, chief executive, and president when the 9/11 attacks on the US took place.

The general twice suspended the country's Constitution and was accused of rigging a referendum shoring up his power, as well as rampant rights abuses including rounding up opponents during his nearly nine-year rule.

Nonetheless, he became Washington’s chief regional ally during its invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan.


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