A year on: Govt may shelve Musharraf’s treason trial

Published: January 3, 2015
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Pervez Musharraf. PHOTO: FILE

Pervez Musharraf. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: After a costly exercise lasting a little over a year, the federal government is now considering shelving its treason trial against former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf.

Perhaps it is just too difficult to exercise Article 6 of the Constitution. At least that much has been proven during the year 2014.

Sources privy to the development revealed that the federal government wants the issue to linger on till the special court’s functioning becomes irrelevant. Already, the prosecution team has refused to prosecute abettors in this case, citing it as “unending process of trial”. The federal government also backed the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision to suspend the special court’s proceedings for a few weeks.

“This is part of a new strategy in the changing circumstances after the Peshawar incident,” commented an interior ministry official, adding that “it is also part of overall scheme of the federal government to improve the relations with the military establishment.”

During a four-month long campaign of sit-ins staged by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), the treason trial proceedings against Musharraf were delayed for a few weeks.

Following the November 21 judgment of a three-judge special court regarding joint trial, the case currently stands at the same position from where it commenced on December 24, 2013. The legal wizards believe that a fresh process is required for joint trial, which means Musharraf would also be charge sheeted again.

The three-bench special court comprising Justice Faisal Arab, Justice Tahira Safdar and Justice Yawar Saeed had conducted 80 hearings to dispose of some 26 petitions.

The IHC barred the special court’s proceedings with the consent of the federal government till February 3 that means the federal government is no more interested in defending the actions of its own created court against such interventions.

“Had it been based on purely legal basis, it could not have faced these complications at the end of the year,” conceded Advocate Faisal Chaudhry, a member of Musharraf’s defence team.

The special court’s November 21 judgment attained finality after the federal government did not challenge the same. However, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, ex-law minister Zahid Hamid and former chief justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, challenged the special court’s decision individually in the IHC.

Justice Athar Minallah led single-judge bench with the consent of all the parties in the case including the federal government’s attorney stayed the proceedings to the special court till further order. The high court would decide first whether or not it has powers to intervene in this matter.

As per budget document, the federal government has spent more than Rs57 million over the trial proceedings so far. 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.

It is widely believed that treason trial idea was result of a personnel vendetta of premier Sharif against Musharraf, who ousted him from power in 1999 through a military coup and briefly put him behind bars in Attock Fort first and then forced him for exile.

Before initiating this trial, the government has formed a three-member joint investigation team of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for investigation. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probed many suspected abettors and collaborators to find their direct or indirect role in the imposition of November 3, 2007 emergency rule by Musharraf. The federal government has exclusively fixed Musharraf in this case and filed a complaint against him.

A member of the JIT in an interview with The Express Tribune confessed that the federal government did not allow them transparent investigation against suspected persons. The government conveyed us our prime target is Gen Musharraf and we don’t want to put any other person on trial, the JIT member alleged. However, the interior ministry refuted this stance.

During the year, the special court rendered a majority of judgments in favour of the prosecution team.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2014.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Pindi Kid
    Jan 3, 2015 - 10:36AM

    Truth and the righteous prevail. Sharif brothers cannot touch the greatness of Musharraf.

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  • Jan 3, 2015 - 10:52AM

    How long will we continue to level trumped up charges on each other? The real culprits are never facing the accountability courts. What a travesty of justice. Salams

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  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Jan 3, 2015 - 11:19AM

    Government has to end the trial in the special court against Musharraf and pay its all attentions on the other the most severe issues country is facing now-a-days because government has seen its courage and bravery to prosecute only Musharraf and has badly failed. to prosecute Musharraf only by securing the other helpers of Musharraf for 2007’s case.Therefore the government has to close special court and withdraw the charges filed against Musharraf so that more poor and common people’s taxed money and time could be secured from wastage….

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  • oBSERVER
    Jan 3, 2015 - 11:57AM

    @the Skunk:
    Who ARE the”real culprits”?

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  • ozair
    Jan 3, 2015 - 12:33PM

    Prosecutors are reluctant to try abettors because most of them are now in PMLN. Irony??

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  • shazia
    Jan 3, 2015 - 12:39PM

    Finally some sanity. Every step Musharraf took was correct and time has proven it. Haters can hate. Long live Musharraf. One brave soldier of this country.

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  • Afshan
    Jan 3, 2015 - 2:19PM

    For making false case and incurring the high cost for the government, Nawaz Sharif should be prosecuted and forced out of the government. Let’s bring back Musharraf under a care taker set-up for 5-7 years to fix the terrorism and massive corruption in the economy. All corrupt politicians, “white collar political terrorist” must get a trial in the Military courts.

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  • vaqas
    Jan 3, 2015 - 3:53PM

    If the government withdraws, won’t that allow an opening up of an avenue for lawsuits of defamation against ns and his lackies? Or does the constitution provide some sort of cover for everyone associated with the present government? Secondly will there be, again, a chance of lawsuits against the government for the recovery of the costs incurred on both sides?

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  • reader
    Jan 3, 2015 - 4:47PM

    Yes. Bring back Gen Syed Parveiz Musharraf. Depose Nawaz Sharif, make him account for stealing of votes and foreign properties in billions. Bring Zardari to public square for stoning till death. Arrest Chaudhry Iftikhar Chief Justice, for his crimes and deceptions. Desolve the criminal Parliament, after arresting all its criminal members, then bring them all to justice before nation. Establish the true Government of Pakistan as a military, beaurucratic, judicial govt, from the educated and hardowrking people, and Islamic, enlightened, progressive Pakistan.
    Like in days of Musharraf. Bring back Gen Syed Parvaiz Musharraf.

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  • Bashir
    Jan 3, 2015 - 4:55PM

    Love you Musharraf, Allah be with you. He is such a brave leader, Sharifs along with Iftikhar Chaudhary have failed to touch the real hero. What a shame on NS and Iftikhar Chaudhary for their malicious plots against Musharraf..

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  • salim
    Jan 3, 2015 - 5:06PM

    An irrelevant case moves towards closure. Collosal tax payers money just for personal vendetta.

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  • M. Arslaan Malik
    Jan 3, 2015 - 5:34PM

    @shazia:
    Well said sister; I for one totally agree.

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  • kamran
    Jan 3, 2015 - 7:36PM

    The long and expensive dharna exercise finally reaping benefits. The objective fully achieved, Musharraf is on his way to greener pastures, Qadri is to enjoy his remuneration. The only loser is PTI, who were told a different story before all this drama but the umpire’s true designs were not known to the players.

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  • immortal_soloist
    Jan 4, 2015 - 1:13AM

    Truth shall always prevail.

    Pervez Musharraf is a true visionary and leader,these cases were fake and politicised.

    They just tried their level best to insult Musharraf and harm his self respect,but all their attempts resulted in a slap on their own faces.

    Pervez Musharraf’s honesty and sincerity is second to none.

    Long live Pervez Musharraf and down with the real traitors sitting in the parliament.

    Article 6 should have been exercised on them,not on Pervez Musharraf.

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  • SK
    Jan 4, 2015 - 5:58AM

    Let’s bury the past and welcome a sane decision of. NS. government to wind up its wittch hunt against Ex President Pervez Musharaf..There is no doubt Ex President made some decisive errors during his rule which cost the nation dearly but his governance and economic policies at that time brought this nation out of decades of oblivion and disintegration . The nation first time witness a sustained economic recovery and progress in his governance that was unprecented in any so called democratic regimes we had.

    This nation welcome the Ex President and hope his slogan of Pakistan FIrst would now be put into action. APML would now become a more potent and cohesive force under his dynamic leader ship.

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