A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court rejected on Monday the attorney general’s request to take up the federal government’s appeal against the Sindh High Court’s verdict of lifting former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s travel ban.
The bench, headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, referred the matter to the chief justice and suggested fixing the hearing of the government’s appeal within one week.
On Monday, when the court took up the government’s application requesting the early hearing of its appeal against the SHC verdict, Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt requested the bench to hear the government’s appeal the same day. Upon this, the bench said it is only hearing the early hearing plea, not the appeal itself.
The AGP submitted that Musharraf has already filed a review petition in the SHC against its June 12 order and if the high court gave a decision on his plea, then the government’s appeal would be infructuous. Justice Mian Saqib, however, told him that the court could not give a decision on speculations.
On June 12, an SHC bench -- comprising Justices Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Shahnawaz Tariq -- had suspended the interior ministry’s memorandum, through which Musharraf’s name had been placed on the ECL. However, the bench had suspended its own order for 15 days to enable the federal government, if it desired so, to file an appeal with the Supreme Court.
A couple of hours after the court’s Monday hearing, the government moved another application to fix its appeal today (Tuesday). In its second application, the government stated that the matter is a question of great public importance with regard to the constitution, independence of judiciary and the rule of law.
It also expressed fear that after the SHC’s judgment, Musharraf is likely to leave Pakistan. “The trial under Article 6 of the Constitution is talking place for the first time in Pakistan’s history and should not be allowed to be frustrated or undermined. In view of the importance of the case, it is respectfully requested that this matter may be fixed at the earliest date,” it submitted.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Musharraf’s lawyer Chaudhry Faisal Hussain said it has been proven that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has a personal grudge against his client, which is why the government is moving a plea for early hearing.
He also contended that the Special Court and SHC have no objection about his client leaving the country, and the SC will also dismiss the government’s appeal.
Special bench formed to hear Musharraf’s review plea
SHC Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar constituted a special bench on Monday to hear Musharraf’s application for the modification of the June 12 judgment.
A division bench, comprising Justices Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Shahnawaz Tariq, who had given the previous ruling, are to take up the matter on June 18 (Wednesday).
In his application, Musharraf told the bench that the condition of his ailing mother had deteriorated, therefore, he needs to visit her outside the country at the earliest. Therefore, he pleaded the court to modify its order and reduce the 15-day period to five.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2014.
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