Defence counsel Dr Khalid Ranjha appealed to ex-servicemen on Saturday to request the military to issue a statement that General Pervez Musharraf be tried under the Army Act and not by the special court.
Former servicemen gathered in Lahore under the platform of ‘Pakistan First Forum’. The objective the meeting was to not only urge the government also to try Musharraf in the army court but also appeal to the sitting generals and lower cadre to stand up in favour of Musharraf.
Dr Ranjha apprised the forum about the latest situation of the high-treason case and appealed to them to mount pressure on their army colleagues to support the former general and “maintain the dignity of the army as an institution”.
If the army wanted, Musharraf’s trial could be transferred from the special court to the army court within 24 hours, the counsel said.
“We don’t want Musharraf to be pardoned under the act but we want him to be tried under the same case under Article 6,” he explained.
The reason is that Musharraf’s legal team cast doubts on the special court’s ability to deliver justice.
Dr Ranjha said the Special Court Act 1976 formed a special court National Awami Party’s Abdul Wali Khan and the trial showed how the court was biased towards then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
He reiterated that the federal government, including the Prime Minister and federal ministers, who are plaintiffs of the case are biased against Musharraf. Moreover, former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry who picked the special court judges also has a personal grudge against him.
Addressing the forum, former ISI Punjab commander Brigadier (retd) Ejaz said that the gathering would declare to the PML-N led government and to other quarters that Musharraf’s case is based on personal vendetta. He said that objective of the gathering is to sensitise the concerned that justice is and will not be delivered to Musharraf.
Musharraf was originally supposed to address the forum himself, but called the plans off following the advice of his doctors, his lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri said.
However, according to his spokesperson and former colleague Rashid Qureshi, the speech had been recorded earlier and was called off on the instructions of the former president himself.
Sources said he decided against addressing the ex-servicemen after consultations with his lawyers and certain quarters in the military.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2014.