ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday turned down a plea from former president Pervez Musharraf to fix the government’s appeal against the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) June 12 verdict to remove his name from Exit Control List (ECL) immediately after Eid vacations end.
A five judge larger bench of the apex court is hearing federal government’s appeal against the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) June 12 verdict regarding removal of Musharraf’s name from Exit Control List (ECL).
The bench had on June 23 suspended SHC’s judgment regarding removal of his name from Exit Control List (ECL) and adjourned the hearing for four weeks.
Musharraf had filed an application through his advocate on record (AoR) Chaudhry Ahmad Nawaz, requesting the apex court to fix the government’s appeal immediately after Eid vacations so that the matter pertaining to the validity of Musharraf’s name being on the ECL could be decided one way or the other at an earliest.
“There is grave urgency in the matter since the mother of the respondent (Musharraf) is very ill and the petitioner also is in dire need of medical advice and treatment which is not available in Pakistan”, the application says.
However, The Express Tribune has learnt that the chief justice of Pakistan had rejected Musharraf’s plea for fixing the ECL case immediately after Eid vacations. The case is now expected to be listed in the month of September.
Chaudhry Faisal Hussain, who is part of Musharraf’s legal team, expressed his disappointment over the rejection by the SC. He pointed out that the court had fixed the government’s appeal against SHC verdict in one week on Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP)’s request but despite valid reasons, their client’s plea had been rejected.
The counsel ruled out speculations that the government had agreed to allow Musharraf to visit abroad. “After the filing of government’s appeal against SHC’s June 12 judgment, departure of Musharraf has become legal issue and it will be decided in the court.”
The top court has already said it will determine four questions of law in a case related to the federal government’s appeal against the SHC June 12 verdict regarding the removal of Pervez Musharraf’s name from ECL.
Issuing a four-page written order on July 1, the top court observed that it has granted leave to the government’s plea to consider four questions.
The court said 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 had 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.
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 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.
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