Blast from the past: Musharraf falls afoul of laws issued by Ziaul Haq

Published: February 23, 2014
Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. PHOTO: AFP

Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. PHOTO: AFP


The writ of one dictator appears to have laid the groundwork for ensnaring another military ruler.

As General (retd) Pervez Musharraf became the victim of ordinances that had been issued during the tenure of the previous military ruler General Ziaul Haq – who repealed the Pakistan Army Act (PPA) 1977 through an ordinance in 1981 – the Justice Faisal Arab-led special court defined the rules under which a trial can be transferred to a military court.

The (redundant) Act of X of 1977 of the PPA includes offences punishable under the high treason act within the ambit of the Army Act.

A three-judge special court in its February 21 order examined the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 1977 to determine whether it is an existing law. The order says that Act X of 1977 stood repealed on July 8, 1981 through an ordinance issued by former army chief General Ziaul Haq.

The court also held that offences punishable under the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973 are not triable by a court-martial under the PPA 1952 and that these are exclusively triable under the Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act, 1976.

Musharraf’s legal team contended that the 1981 ordinance had lapsed after an expiry of the statutory period contained in Article 89 of the constitution, therefore, all the repealed laws including the Act X of 1977 stood revived.

In its written order, the Justice Faisal Arab-led bench made it clear that Musharraf’s team might have lost sight of the fact that “all ordinances promulgated between July 5, 1977 to December 30, 1985 [during the Zia era] were given protection under Article 270-A of the Constitution…”

The court in its order held that much reliance was placed by Musharraf’s counsel on section 7 of PPA for transferring of the case to a military court, which shows that it deals with an altogether different situation.

A bare reading of the provisions of section 7 makes it clear that any person attached to or forms part of a military force, which is brought into action in a combat situation against an enemy or is engaged in some military operations, whether in the country or on foreign soil, can be regarded on active service if duly notified by the federal government.

Hence, apart from serving uniformed personnel called on active service, there can also be certain persons or class of persons who though not in uniform, have in some way been attached with the military force subject to the issuance of the notification by the federal government under section 7 of the Army Act, the order further says.

The intention behind treating a person on active service is to bring him within the fold of the provisions of the Army Act so that he could be dealt with accordingly, the court’s order held, adding, “Thus, section 7 of the Army Act is intended to achieve this limited purpose only.”

A member of Musharraf’s legal team said that an appeal would be filed before the apex court against the order of the special court under Articles 14 and 25, highlighting exploitation and discrimination in this case. He said the court has yet to decide the issue of bias and rendered a far-reaching order against the accused.

The trial is a classic example of discrimination because only a single person is being targeted, he said.

The review petition will also seek relief from the apex court to transfer this case to an army court as when the accused committed this alleged offence he was a serving officer of the army.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2014.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Nikki
    Feb 23, 2014 - 10:18AM

    My only concern is security of Pakistan at the moment, Musharraf case is no more important.He has left his legacy TALIBAN, so we are more committed to protect Pakistan from them.


  • imran
    Feb 23, 2014 - 10:32AM

    Mushraf was a nice leader and brave army chief,at least for us (indian occupied kashmir) coz he tried to liberate us from endia, as current politicians and pak media is after dollars..we kashmiri love him…
    listen india u hve to go one day and have to leave our kashmir in sha Allah..
    And my request to all my muslim bros and sisters of pak plzz pray for us plzzzz…
    ♥♥♥ LOVE U PAKISTAN♥♥♥


  • Umar Khan
    Feb 23, 2014 - 11:26AM

    So what? Is it important who made the Law?
    This creating of controversy for every single thing is in the typical nature of Pakistani journalism … with no output.


  • Muslim Leaguer
    Feb 23, 2014 - 12:26PM

    Musharraf’s case is already very weak and the defense counsel is making mockery of justice.
    When his bail plea was rejected in April 2013, Musharraf fled the Court premises making fun of justice and the institution that he once represented.
    Then they tried to take refuge behind “security concerns”. Interestingly, every time an undetonated bomb was found in the way whenever Musharraf was supposed to appear in the Court.
    When the government further increased the security by increasing the number of security personnel to 1600 (from earlier 1200), Musharraf became “suddenly ill” and the motorcade was diverted to Military Hospital where he is resting at taxpayers expense for the past 53days!
    The lawyers tried to drag Army into the case but the institution of Army is professionally keeping itself away from the dirty tricks of Musharraf.
    Then Mush lawyers tried to scandalize the judiciary but failed once again.
    One day or the other, this man will meet justice since justice can be delayed but justice can’t be denied!


  • salim
    Feb 23, 2014 - 12:35PM

    Taliban is certainly not Musharraf’s legacy. Please go further down history. Taliban is the legacy of none other than Gen Hammed Gul who is still an apologist, Dive into wikileaks to learn about his involvement. One person who gets away with anything and everything for obvious reasons.


  • excalibur
    Feb 23, 2014 - 1:31PM

    Emergency was declared by Musharraf as COAS in 2007. Being in uniform then the Army Act stands and he cannot be tried in a Kangaroo Civil Tribunal. NLC case is a more recent example in this regard.


  • Uza Syed
    Feb 23, 2014 - 3:29PM

    It’s has got to nothing with any laws or ordinances by anyone, what we are witnessing right now is fulfillment of some vindictive minds agenda of revenge and vendetta, and this has to be done at any cost, no matter which rule or law must be spun and interpreted. This is a nasty joke with rule of law, it’s travesty of justice and an attempt to test the limit of patience and endurance of masses in Pakistan. I shudder to anticipate the outcome of this evil experiment.


  • Parvez
    Feb 23, 2014 - 3:50PM

    Ironic…….when you dig a grave for others, there’s a chance that you will fall in yourself.


  • Mohammad
    Feb 23, 2014 - 4:17PM

    You allow Aslam Baig to be tried under Army Act even for crimes he committed after the retirement.. but you don’t allow Musharraf to be tried under Army act for lawful emergency he imposed as an Army Chief.. wah ji wah!


  • wajid ali
    Feb 23, 2014 - 4:21PM

    I like moshraf he is very brv man if mushraf back in sha allah kashmir will pakistan I pry mushraf com back in powr


  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Feb 23, 2014 - 4:34PM

    Because of Musharaf’s heavy handed policies and overtures to the CIA and Indian bullies, Pakistan is in a weaker position in regards to its own internal security, Kashmir, and Afghanistan. He is the man directly responsible for both the economic and security situation of Pakistan. Zardari is also responsible.


  • Saira Ahmad
    Feb 23, 2014 - 8:40PM

    In the reply of Muslim League I want to say that “No one should be a judge in his own case”. The judges who were effected by PCO are not eligible to hear the case secondly I would like to answer the question that it is not important that Musharraf is not in Army. The important thing is that what was his position at the time of commission of alleged offence which he had committed at the ADVICE OF PRIME MINISTER. So Muslin Leagues dream that Musharraf will seek pardon will never be come true. Saira Ahmad. Lawyer.


  • Kay
    Feb 23, 2014 - 8:44PM

    @ Muslim Leaguer:
    The chain of events as you have described clearly point that PMLN government is involved in rescuing PM in every incident.


  • dr imran
    Feb 23, 2014 - 9:16PM

    pmln is trying to save iftikhar ch which is why they are not starting it from 2007, judges panel is also biased. pmln needs to get a simple equation in their dump heads i.e “don’t repeat the same mistakes back again”


  • Amir
    Feb 23, 2014 - 11:19PM

    Pakistan Army is in state of war with Judiciary since its inception. Courts of laws have always been used as pawns by Pakistan Army. Recent history of Pakistan testifies to this statement. The first phase of war was won by Judiciary with the overthrow of this dictator. Now, in the second phase, Army will do its best to protect not only Musharraf but all other Core Commanders and Generals in service or retired. Every election is supervised by Army and ensures bringing in power (via rigging) the rejected and corrupt lots of PPP and PML (N). PML (N) was a creation of Pakistan Army and obviously it was the next choice after PPP. There’s no hope until Pakistan Army accepts and respects the Judiciary and courts of law. Military rule or kangaroo military courts aren’t a permanent solution to the plight of over 200 Million unfortunate human beings called Pakistanis.


  • AtifB
    Feb 24, 2014 - 1:27AM

    @Muslim Leaguer: You are such a naive muslim leaguer that I pity you. Your party does not have the balls to go and arrest the General from the hospital who is like 8 km away from the court. Stop talking non sense and stop fooling the public. The army wont let you touch him so stop making excuses. Musharraf was and is still an honest leader of this country unlike your Noon and the PPP.


  • Careful Reader
    Feb 24, 2014 - 2:11AM

    since being in power both zardari/benazir and nawaz had there rich increase to beyond $1 billion dollars. if only they ran the government with such precision accuracy rather than amass for themselves through any means possible. What is wrong with the Pakistani people that they keep voting for these people? The best democracy the country ever saw was in the Musharraf era when there was local government and each locality ran their own affairs.


  • Rex Minor
    Feb 24, 2014 - 5:18AM

    2nd attempt,

    Nonsense, the Talibans is no ones legacy but a force of Resistance against occupation. Musharaf trial itself is a diversion whose slogan to the army was,” You the brave ones have bled for President Ziaul Haq, now you must bleed for me to show your loyalty for Pakistan. The current RA the new military supremo is using same slogans, you the FC jawans and the wipita pilots have bled for the colonialists and later for Zialul Haq and Parvez Musharaf, the Indian born now must bleed for me, the indigenous man from Punjab to prove your loyalty for the Pakistan Army. The country is going nowhere but bleeding now with the moral support of so called liberal elites and powerless media. The jury is still out as to when the conditions in Pakistan will be ripe for the separation of KPK and Baluchistan from the main corpus or give life to the Tahreer Square or Maidan movements in the country which will facilitate the intervention of the neighbouring armies?

    Rex Minor


  • Al-Bakistan
    Feb 24, 2014 - 5:46AM

    @imran: Time to stop hiding and make your voice heard in the open?


  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Feb 24, 2014 - 8:05AM

    Ex Gen. HAMID GUL is still in commamd of an army called Taliban while his opponant is facing trial .Now pak army has decided to follow the path laid down by Gen. Musarraf and MQM along with almost all political parties are supporting the army action against the Talibans . The on going NOORA KUSHTI of pak nro judges is just to kill the time and nothing else . Musarraf will ultimately prevail .


  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Feb 24, 2014 - 8:07AM

    Ex Gen. HAMID GUL is still in commamd of an army called Taliban while his opponant is facing trial .Now pak army has decided to follow the path laid down by Gen. Musarraf and MQM along with almost all political parties are supporting the army action against the Talibans . The on going NOORA KUSHTI of pak nro judges is just to kill the time and nothing else . Musarraf will ultimately prevail and Taliban along with their think tank will have to perish .Recommend

  • nadeem
    Feb 24, 2014 - 9:20AM

    Glad to see that one military usurper is undoing another military usurper from his grave


  • Muneer
    Feb 24, 2014 - 9:47AM

    This is not a welcome decision by a kangroo court.The decision infact has strengthened the hands of any defence official committing offence in relation to article 6 of the constitution.Atleast any violater would have now no  threat of being tried under the military law,and thus the evidence with them will also not be avaiable to prosecution other than the military.The objective of General Zia in issuing the,’Ordinance’, could have been to save himself from any future trial under the army act.This is what happens when any court/ its creator is driven by self interest and existing circumstances.Musharraf lawyers would do well by not challenging the verdict.  


  • Nida Alvi
    Feb 24, 2014 - 12:04PM

    @ Musharraf-trolls
    As a last ditch, Musharraf’s lawyers are hiding behind Army Act, 1952 ignoring the fact that the clause relating to high treason was repealed in 1981. The punishment for the crime of high treason is only described under Article-6 of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 for which he is being prosecuted. The liar lawyers like Khalid Ranjha and Raza Kasuri deliberately tried to mislead the Court and must be punished for the contempt of court.
    In the beginning, Mush lawyers were adamant that USA and/or West will intervene to rescue him for his “service” to the USA in it’s war on terror (ignoring that this war has killed more than 51000 Pakistanis and caused loss of US$ 78 Billion). [USA has learnt bitter lesson after Shah of Iran and then Qaddhafi. It cannot alienate a nation for an individual, now matter how loyal to their agenda he was in the past!].
    Then they starting creating a smoke screen that Army will never like Musharraf to be punished and will never let the trial proceed. [In reality, the institution of Army is keeping itself aloof from the selfish motives of dictator Musharraf since most of the crimes that he committed were meant to prolong his dictatorship].
    The liar Mush lawyers were so frustrated that they even announced the Saudi Minister’s visit to Pakistan as an endeavor to bail out Musharraf. But the Saudi Government too has declared that Musharraf’s trial is an internal matter of Pakistan.
    After getting frustrated all these Musharraf trolls are beating around the bush!
    Learn from the examples of Chile, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Turkey. They all prosecuted their former rogue Generals for the crime of high treason. The 21st Century Pakistan should follow the league of civilized countries.


  • excalibur
    Feb 24, 2014 - 1:10PM

    @ Nida Alvi

    All your misleading statements highlighted were made by yellow journaists or jibes by prosecution lawyers not by Musharraf’s camp.

    As for the Army Act you need a tutorial to understand the reality of it and how it applies to Army personnel. Still if you are blind to a cherry picked vendetta, so be it


  • Nida Alvi
    Feb 24, 2014 - 3:54PM

    All the pseudo-intellectuals, like you, trolling an accused of high treason have no strong argument. He can never escape from justice anymore. I have already read the Army Act 1952 and will advise you to read it before spewing your wisdom. The problem with the pseudo-intellectuals trolling former dictator Musharraf is that they consider themselves as above the sky and all others as duds & dunces. That’s why ET had rightly pointed out that “No one is ready to follow the other colleague in true spirit,” a member of the defence team commented. The same incoherence was witnessed during the proceedings of the treason case. It was also a source of irritation for the judges of the special court, who asked for discipline several times.
    I will also advise you to read the cases of Augusto Pinochet (Chile), Sarath Fonseka (Sri Lanka) and İlker Başbuğ (Turkey) to know the outcome of treason trials in civilized countries of 21st century.Recommend

  • excalibur
    Feb 24, 2014 - 5:19PM

    @ nida Alvi

    If you need to really understand the case read Justice Trashed ( South Asia Vol 18 Feb 2 )

    Musharraf has neither subverted or abrogated the Constitution at any stage even though CJ Chaudhry had even authorised him to amend the Constitution as may be required..

    He only held some clauses in ABEYANCE for a short time and abeyance was never a culpable offence anyway untill the politicians sneaked this word under the 18th Amendment.

    Try to reason with facts not by making personal comments which deserve no responseRecommend

  • excalibur
    Feb 24, 2014 - 5:56PM

    @ Nida Alvi

    Suggest you read the Army Act 1977 as well and the 1981 MLO as well and see how does it apply to a man in Uniform. Also read the PLD NLC case and how former Generals were treated by the Courts.

    The Head of the Tribunal has already applied his mind in two separate cases reg Musharraf and given his verdict. For the CJ and NS to deploy the same biased judge is a shame.
    As for another judge he is related to the openly hostile retd. judge Ramday..

    Please also mane any so called Dictator anywhere in the world who had the courage and conviction to clear his name by returning voluntarily and choosing not to run away because he knows there is no case he has to answer.. Politically motivated cases die their own deah and the nation will not allow another judicial murder in Pakistan llike ZAB. Justice has to be transparent and above board. Media and civil society are vigilant nowRecommend

  • vortex
    Feb 24, 2014 - 6:06PM

    @Nida Alvi:
    “he liar Mush lawyers were so frustrated that they even announced the Saudi Minister’s visit to Pakistan as an endeavor to bail out Musharraf. But the Saudi Government too has declared that Musharraf’s trial is an internal matter of Pakistan.”

    Either you were part of the discussions with Saudi’s or you have some super natural powers to know what was really discussed or not discussed. Recommend

  • vortex
    Feb 24, 2014 - 6:22PM

    @Rex Minor:
    Your comment a whole lot of rhetoric and usual racist slander. He’s a Pakistani and not from your country.Recommend

  • Nida Alvi
    Feb 24, 2014 - 7:25PM

    @vortex: LOLz, I have neither of them and am only a regular reader of ET..
    You too need to read the news rather than relying on the hearsay of Mush liar lawyers.
    My advice: read a good newspaper (like Express Tribune) every day!Recommend

  • Nida Alvi
    Feb 24, 2014 - 7:42PM

    Musharraf has not only imposed emergency on the evening of Saturday the 3rd of November 2007 but also suspended & arrested 60 judges alongwith their families and imposed curbs on the media. This in itself was a unique record by a Dictator anywhere in the world to impose two martial laws!
    All the civilized countries in the developing world are undoing the past blunders by punishing the former Dictators and rogue Generals.
    You need to come out of your CJ-phobia. The Courts are independent, more competent in interpretation of law and are watching the similar developments in other countries of the civilized world.
    If Chile, Sri Lanka and Turkey can rectify their mistakes why can’t Pakistan? Recommend

  • Taseer Siddiqui
    Feb 25, 2014 - 10:47AM

    Musharraf Commando proved again … He is true Pakistani leader.. Now, All detractors have no words. All those who are saying that Musharraf should tried in treason case.. where were they when your polictians and ambassador of Pakistan Hussain Haqqani did memo scenario and deceived Pakistan and its army. He wrote letter to Americans against Pakistan.. That is not considered as treason case, because that was politician.. shame on you..


  • vortex
    Feb 25, 2014 - 12:07PM

    @Nida Alvi:
    Such discussions are not made public and even denied. Refer to a number of talk shows on the subject. Anyway, thanks for your valuable advice on newspaper selection.

    Regarding ‘Mush liar lawyers – with your excellent knowledge of the law please comment on recent re-induction of 3 generals into Pak Army to face court martial in the alleged NLIC corruption case.


  • salim
    Feb 26, 2014 - 10:21AM

    @Muslim Leaguer:
    Everything aside I’m sure you must of seen clips on TV showing your brave leaders taking oath from this so called ‘gaddar’! hypocrisy?


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