With history beckoning, the protagonist of what will be a momentous treason trial has once again attempted to stymie proceedings of the specially-constituted court that will frame charges against him on January 1, 2014.
Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s legal team had earlier attempted to review the widely sanctified July 31, 2009, judgment – only to be shot down by objections by the Supreme Court’s registrar. Most of the treason trial will be based on the famous “July 31” verdict that held Musharraf’s action of imposing emergency and dismissing judges illegal.
On Saturday, with the legal team has, once again, filed a petition to this effect, ostensibly not only addressing the objections, but also challenging the mandate of the registrar to dismiss the review petition.
Last week, the court’s registrar office had turned down Musharraf’s petition, pointing out some procedural errors along with an objection to “objectionable language” used in the petition against the judges. The office of the court also raised the objection that Musharraf’s petition could not be entertained as a review petition had already been dismissed in this case.
The legal team of Musharraf challenged the objections, saying the registrar’s office did not have the jurisdiction to dismiss the review petition. Raising objection over paragraph 56 and 76 of the judgment, Musharraf had expressed apprehension in the review petition that if the July 31, 2009, decision is not suspended, he would suffer an “irreparable loss” as he is facing a high treason case under Article 6 of the Constitution mainly on the basis of this judgment of the Supreme Court.
Through his review petition, Musharraf also sought stay order for trial proceedings initiated against him by a three-judge special court. Musharraf’s legal team also raised objections over jurisdiction and constitution of special court.
A special court led by Justice Faisal Arab on December 24 ordered Musharraf to appear before it on January 1, 2014. The charges will be framed against him on the same date, the court order read.
Timeframe issue addressed
The legal team of the former military ruler also filed a separate petition before the SC, stating that in the Nawaz Sharif case, the apex court entertained a review petition after almost 10 years.
“We asked the court that if Nawaz Sharif can be entertained after 10 years then how can Musharraf be denied on the basis of a two-year lapse in filing the review petition against the judgment?” Ahmad Raza Kasuri told The Express Tribune. “We also noted in our petition that we did not file a review during Justice Chaudhry’s tenure because he had personal grudges with Musharraf.
Lawyers tend to see the July 31, 2009 verdict as a landmark ruling in the country’s history, which cannot be revisited by the incumbent apex court’s judges. Several aggrieved PCO judges are also considering challenging the Supreme Court’s July 31, 2009 judgment.
They said that these judges had already drafted their review petitions and are awaiting the institution of Musharraf’s petition in this matter.
Over 100 superior courts’ judges were ousted through the July 31, 2009 judgment of the apex court and around 60 judges were put on contempt proceedings for violating the November 3, 2007 order on the emergency and PCO.
Most of the aggrieved PCO judges have remained dominant in bar politics and are said to be playing ‘politics’ effectively, therefore superior bars passed a resolution regarding the revisiting of the July 31, 2009 judgment.
One representative of the bar also confirmed that several PCO judges who belong to Punjab had also decided to challenge the appointment of the superior courts judges who were nominated by the Judicial Commission of Pakistan in the absence of three members, namely the Pakistan Bar Council representative, attorney general of Pakistan and law minister. He said that around 20 superior court judges were appointed from November 2012 to April 2013.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2013.
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