The high treason trial of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has so far cost the national kitty a whopping Rs57.2 million, the budget documents reveal. However, the actual cost could be much more than this amount.
Over Rs57 million has been sought by the Interior Division and the Law, Justice and Human Rights Division for the establishment of the special court and miscellaneous expenses, the budget documents show.
According to the breakup, appropriations, expenditures incurred during the high treason trial, payment of fees and contingency and other expenses have cost the national exchequer Rs49.5 million. This amount has been spent by the Interior Division.
Additionally, the cost of renovating the National Library building, where the special court is trying Musharraf, comes in at around Rs7.7 million, according to the budget documents. This sum was sought as a supplementary grant by the Law, Justice and Human Rights Division.
Legal expenses incurred by the government in pursuit of the former president exceed Rs20 million. According to a reply submitted by the interior ministry in the National Assembly, the government’s 14-member legal team is divided into prosecution and constitutional teams. Some of the lawyers in the government’s legal team are part of both prosecution and constitutional wings, and as such get paid twice. Interestingly enough, lead prosecutor Akram Shaikh gets paid the lowest with Rs999. On the other hand, prosecution in-charge Nasiruddin Khan Nayyer receives the highest pay cheque of Rs10 million.
The costs mentioned in the budget documents do not include expenses incurred on security. According to sources, as many as 300 regular police personnel, including commandos and policewomen, and 100 Rangers have been deployed for Musharraf’s security since the treason case proceedings began.
Police sources added that Rs100,000 has been spent on each hearing of the treason case, regardless of whether the former president appears or not. In this way, they said, the cost of the trial exceeds Rs100 million. The expenses incurred on the three judges of the special court over the last five months have not been incorporated in the new budget as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2014.
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