SC raises legal points over govt’s appeal

The hearing of the case will be fixed within one month subject to the availability of the bench.

Hasnaat Malik July 01, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will determine four questions of law in a case related to the federal government’s appeal against the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) June 12 verdict regarding the removal of Pervez Musharraf’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL).

The SHC had ordered the government to remove Musharraf’s name from the ECL. However, it had also granted a 15-day time period in which federal government could file an appeal in the SC against the order.

The apex court’s five-judge bench, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk, on June 23 accepted the federal government’s appeal and also suspended the high court’s June 12 order. Issuing a four-page written order on Tuesday, the top court observed that it has granted leave to the government’s plea to consider four questions.

The court says that whether the apex court’s April 8, 2013 order was an interim order that merged into its July 3, 2013 final order or not, the principle of merger was not attracted in this case, regarding the restriction on the respondent’s (Pervez Musharraf’s) travel abroad.

The bench questioned whether the April 8 order was an interim one and if, on the basis of integration of law, the interim decision was included in the final order issued on July 3. Can the Sindh High Court (SHC) suspend the April 5, 2013, decision to place Musharraf’s name on the ECL? the bench asked. The bench also questioned if, without modification or reversal of the SC’s April 8, 2013 order, Musharraf can be permitted to leave the country.

The hearing of the case will be fixed within one month subject to the availability of the bench.

Musharraf is facing four criminal cases including one high treason case, filed by the federal government. Prior to the filing of the government’s complaint, four petitions were filed before the Supreme Court wherein the petitioners had prayed for a direction to the federal government to prosecute the respondent (Musharraf) under the high treason Act 1973.

The court on April 8, 2013 directed the secretary interior to make sure Musharraf’s name was placed on the ECL. His name had already been placed on the ECL on April 5, 2013 pursuant to the SHC’s March 29, 2013 order, wherein it was directed that Musharraf will not leave the country without permission of the trial court. Later, a division bench of the SHC declined to exclude Musharraf’s name from
the ECL.

Musharraf challenged the federal government’s April 5, 2013 order placing him on the ECL as well as the April 2, 2014 order rejecting his application to withdraw the earlier order.

The SHC on June 12 allowed his plea and struck down the Office Memorandum dated April 5, 2013 on the grounds that the top court’s April 4 order had merged into a final order dated July 3, 2013, wherein all four petitions were disposed of but no order was made to place Musharraf’s name on the ECL. Additionally, the April 4, 2013 Memorandum had not mentioned any of the grounds enumerated in Rule 2 of the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Rules 2010 according to which the federal government is empowered to prevent any person from leaving the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2014.


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