A videotape of former president Pervez Musharraf’s address when he announced the imposition of emergency on November 3, 2007 was screened in the special court on Thursday.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, watched the 46-minute speech, wherein he stated that Pakistan on a downward spiral at the juncture. “I personally with all my conviction and with all the facts available to me consider inaction at this movement is suicide for Pakistan, and I cannot allow this country to commit suicide. Therefore, I had to take this action in order to preserve the democratic transition, which was initiated eight years back.”
Similarly, Musharraf’s speech also shows that he was frustrated due to the Supreme Court’s proceedings in a matter related to his presidential election. Explaining the emergency and the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO), Musharraf had stated that the court’s proceeding is being prolonged unnecessarily and the notification regarding his victory in the presidential election is not being issued.
Ikram Chaudhry, a member of the prosecution, told The Express Tribune that Musharraf’s speech was presented before the court on the defence team’s demand but there is nothing in it that benefits Musharraf’s case. He also said the prosecution will continue presenting evidence during the month of August and later on, Musharraf’s statement will be recorded.
When the video was being shown in court, Musharraf’s counsel Chaudhry Faisal Hussain came at the rostrum and questioned the veracity of the tape. He claimed that an edited version of the speech was being played in court.
Chaudhry Faisal told The Express Tribune that a request would be made to the court for a forensic test of the video, which was in the custody of Pakistan Television. He also contended that Musharraf’s speech shows that then Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz had written a letter to him, revealing the poor state of governance of the country and recommended the promulgation of emergency. “The speech also reveals that our client imposed the emergency on November 3, 2007 after consulting with the military leadership [of the time],” he added. The prosecution team has also submitted the transcript of the speech in court. Meanwhile, the prosecution team has rejected Pervez Musharraf’s legal team’s apprehension that Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) might have manipulated the high-treason case record.
On Wednesday, defence counsel Farogh Nasim filed an application to request the court to assume custody of all official records, citing grave lacunae in the registration of both the roznamacha and the FIR.
Special prosecutor Akram Sheikh, submitting a reply over this plea, stated that the application is misconceived and based on an erroneous understanding of the law. He claimed that the application had been filed just to delay the trial.
“It is merely the imagination of the defence that 25 weekly progress reports were on record. It is important to mention that the progress reports do not form part of the case file. These reports were exclusively meant for departmental and internal consumption.”
The application further clarified that roznamchas are only maintained at places, such as notified police stations of the FIA. “In this instance, inquiry and investigation was conducted by the officers who were posted at the FIA headquarters, which is not a notified police station. Therefore, no roznamcha is maintained at the FIA headquarters.”
Secondly, the application says that the team maintained case diaries while nine periodical reports were also prepared, which can be produced for the perusal of the court in a sealed envelope.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2014.
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