Roping in others: Musharraf’s counsel says charge martial law abettors since 1956

Published: April 30, 2013
Musharraf’s counsel argued that condemning his client for the abrogation of the constitution would be discriminating as no other dictator had ever before been tried under the High Treason Act of 1973. PHOTO: REUTERS

Musharraf’s counsel argued that condemning his client for the abrogation of the constitution would be discriminating as no other dictator had ever before been tried under the High Treason Act of 1973. PHOTO: REUTERS


The Supreme Court received a lesson in history on Monday when former president Pervez Musharraf’s counsel argued before the apex court that condemning his client for the abrogation of the constitution would be discrimination since no other dictator had ever before been tried under the High Treason Act of 1973.

The argument came as Advocate Raja Muhammad Ibrahim Satti, member of a team of lawyers defending the former military ruler, told a three member bench of the apex court that treason trials against all former implementers, abettors and collaborators of martial laws since 1956 should be initiated simultaneously.

Comprising Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Khawaja, the bench was hearing up to six identical petitions seeking initiation of treason charges against Musharraf. “The judiciary’s role in validating successive martial laws in the past is not something to be proud of,” argued Satti, highlighting that treason charges should also be brought against all those who conspired for, collaborated in or refused to object to successive abrogation of the constitution since 1956 – a year which finds mention in the High Treason (Punishment) Act.

Satti said “we have all been voyaging in the same boat since 1956,” and Justice Khawaja replied that “this boat full of people should be sunk.”  Recalling history, Satti said that the martial law imposed by former president Iskander Mirza in 1958, was validated by the Supreme Court on the grounds that the president continued to hold office and the act was deemed in the interest of the State.

Meanwhile the court ordered the federal government to provide reasonable opportunity to all lawyers representing Musharraf to meet their client. The lawyers had complained that they had not met their client for the last four days.

Farm house as sub-jail

Earlier, the Islamabad High Court on Monday dismissed a petition against declaring Musharraf’s farm house a sub jail.

The petitioner Advocate Muhammad Ashraf Gujjar, had challenged the notification issued by chief commissioner Islamabad, through which the former president’s Chak Shahzad farmhouse had been declared a sub-jail.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Usman786
    Apr 30, 2013 - 5:58AM

    true. when the present CJ has validated Mush for 1999 coup then how can Mush other actions can be against constitution


  • Mirza
    Apr 30, 2013 - 7:34AM

    The old excuse that everybody was speeding why did police stopped me? There have been so many murders and rapes why am I the only one caught and being tried? Some fish are caught and some swim away it is a matter of luck. If Mush’s argument is accepted nobody would be punished as 100% of criminals are never caught. In addition Mush’s lawyer is not denying the acts of high treason he is saying that like the other he should be let go. The justice has to start some day in Pakistan.


  • Apr 30, 2013 - 8:03AM

    The argument of Musharraf is like first you catch all other thieves/ abettors then only you can charge me. since parliament never tried (dared) to charge treason against the dictators in the past how can you hold me liable for it.? SC in the past has validated the coup by army generals on the basis of the law of necessity . And the similar circumstances were prevailing during the last take over.
    Judiciary’ s stand will be “they decide the cases/ charges when it is placed before them ” . .In case Charges are laid on other dictators by the appropriate forum the same too will be decided on the merit.. Judiciary’s stand is let the heaven fall. But for all practical purposes army’s help is very much required in the election so the matter will rest for some time. Political parties can not afford to antagonize military at this juncture and in near future too.


    Apr 30, 2013 - 8:24AM

    It is my humbal request to Mr Atizad to wait any decision of SC and don;t issue any biased remarks against Musharraf who was also our Army cheif with no curruption records


  • Atif
    Apr 30, 2013 - 8:25AM

    This argument is like, If a murderer is under trial in a court he would say ‘First catch all the murderers in Pakistan since 1947 and punish them first, only then punish me’. This is a stupid argument.


  • Rule of Law
    Apr 30, 2013 - 8:47AM

    This is simply a “confession” by the legal counsel on behalf of General Musharraf (Retd) for violating the Constitution and invoking Article-6.


  • Farhan
    Apr 30, 2013 - 10:16AM

    Once the act of Mush has been validated by CJ, there is not point in debating that his act was unlawful. This had to be decided by court and that court said was valid. Now what judiciary is doing is a a mere revenge. Nobody is child that it would not be understandable. Judiciary has got no character unfortunately.


  • Ghayoor
    Apr 30, 2013 - 10:18AM

    What a blunt and brave man Musharraf. First time in the history of Pakistan somebody has shown mirror to the judiciary. Must be applauded.


  • Fariha
    Apr 30, 2013 - 10:23AM

    Unfortunately judiciary in Pakistan is governed by character less and self benefiting entities. They don’t do justice and instead their actions are as per the need of the time. I won’t say Musharraf hasn’t done anything wrong because his steps were validated by judiciary. There is no point in taking him to task now since judiciary hasn’t got its own credibility. What judiciary can do now is wait until next martial law and doesn’t validate it in order to remove spots from itself instead of just taking judicial revenge right now.


  • Liaqat
    Apr 30, 2013 - 11:21AM

    Article 6, if read as a whole not only applies to the Musharraf but to all those who were helpers. The biggest helper was judiciary itself.


  • Mandela
    Apr 30, 2013 - 12:23PM

    Trust me, Musharraf will be exonerated of all these ridiculous charges against him cos they can’t prove him guilty when he hasn’t committed that crime. Specially so, cos he’s an individual with excetptional intelligence – he can fight his case on his own in a much better manner than all the lawyers available to him. Once that happens, I suggest he should move to some civilized country and let Pakistani people enjoy whatever they chose for themselves; be it same old corrupt, incompetent, self-serving idiots or a ‘change’. In my opinion, Musharraf is unfit to lead Pakistan cos he’s honest, intelligent, brave and a visionary leader.


  • Nawaz Shariff
    Apr 30, 2013 - 12:56PM

    Had judiciary been playing its role effectively, the society would not have been deprived of justice. Country lower courts are maafia and full of corruption. Who will look into it if SC is merely busy in revenge and listening to politically motivated cases. Why is this case accepted for hearing once SC validated steps taken by Musharraf. Rather CJ himself took oath under PCO. If now SC is listening this case it could be entirely biased.


  • Naadir
    Apr 30, 2013 - 2:03PM

    @Mandela: Can’t appreciate your comment enough. Brilliant…
    Had there been anyone else in Musharraf’s place, he would never have turned again to Pakistan leaving his comfortable life. But its only this patriotic guy who always takes Pakistan First. But he must leave this thought because this country is not for such great people. Only progressive/educated nations consider such citizens as an assent to their country.
    Nobody in Pakistan can deny his intellectual base, his International respect and the progress he gave to this country, but still he is facing all this. Whereas, real criminals are free to wander around and take part in election.
    Musharraf let these people be in their situation. Leave them and forget them…


  • poleturtle
    Apr 30, 2013 - 4:05PM

    You have to start with someone. I think Mush should be tried only for abrogating the constitution and overthrowing a democratically elected government. Definitely all others who helped him in the process should get their share of the punishment. Now is the time. No other Army Chief will ever look the other way if this is tried later !!


  • Faraz
    Apr 30, 2013 - 4:40PM

    @poleturtle. Start with CJ so that no judiciary in future validate abrogating constitution.


  • mrs ahmed
    Apr 30, 2013 - 5:53PM

    once again spot on


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