Musharraf’s treason case: Prosecution pours scorn on Sharifuddin Pirzada

Trial has not begun even after three months, says Dr Tariq Hassan.

Our Correspondents March 22, 2014
Picture of Sharifuddin Pirzada. PHOTO: REUTERS


It was the prosecution’s turn on Friday to rebut claims after the legal team of former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf raised objections against Akram Sheikh, the lead prosecutor in the high-treason case. 

“The application [filed by defence team] is premature and unnecessarily scandalous,” argued Dr Tariq Hassan, one of the leading members of the prosecution team, adding “the myth of the senior most counsel being biased needs to be dismissed.”

A day earlier, one of Musharraf’s lawyers Anwar Mansoor Khan had raised objections over Akram Sheikh’s appointment as special prosecutor and accused him of bias. The notification of the special prosecutor’s appointment was not issued by the competent authority, he had contended before the special bench.

In response to these allegations on Friday, Dr Hassan told the three-judge bench, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, that the law then should presume Sharifuddin Pirzada is guilty of being undemocratic “for advising autocrats in his professional capacity”.

“The trial was to commence on December 24, 2013. Three months down the road, the trial has still not begun,” he pointed out. “Who’s on trial (instead)? The complainant, ie, the federal government, the special court and now the lead prosecutor,” he said, answering his own question.

‘I’m not quitting’

Separately, Akram Sheikh denied news reports about quitting the prosecution. Addressing a press conference at his Lahore office, he said, “I have made no such announcement. Neither have I quit nor do I have any intention to.”

He explained that he had offered to quit only if Musharraf would appear in court because his lawyers claimed that the former military lawyer was not willing to come before the bench otherwise. He said he offered not to appear in court on March 31 so that the court could indict the former general then. However, Sheikh clarified that he had never announced inside or outside the courtroom that he had quit the case.

Neither is the high-treason case against an institution nor is it against a political party, it is purely a constitutional case, he maintained. “I am the government’s prosecutor and I am not loyal to a particular individual in the government.”

About Musharraf’s exemption from appearing in the case, Sheikh said the former general would have to come to court so that charges could be framed against him, after which he might be exempted. However, Musharraf would have to nominate someone to replace him for the rest the of trial.

Journalist manhandled

The special court adjourned the proceedings till Tuesday due to the journalists’ boycott of the proceedings.

The hearing was marred when media persons boycotted the proceedings to protest against the manhandling of a journalist on the orders of Jan Muhammad, the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Security Islamabad police.

The court deputed its registrar to resolve the issue. In his preliminary statement, DIG Jan Muhammad confessed that his guards manhandled the journalist on his orders because he was responsible for foolproof security. He also said that journalist Tayyab Baloch was suspiciously giving information to someone over the telephone.

After informing the special court about the incident, journalists boycotted the proceedings. Justice Faisal Arab directed the court’s registrar to look into this matter and the registrar formally summoned the DIG security on Saturday for an explanation. 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2014.


as | 7 years ago | Reply Its a shame that one of the most trusted lieutenants of Jinnah is being defamed
vaqas | 7 years ago | Reply

@Uza Syed: I agree with you. Whats journalism got to do with upkeeping justice?

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