Former president’s spokesperson says govt wants to keep him out of the political arena
ISLAMABAD: The federal government has told a two-judge bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that it is willing to reinvestigate the role of abettors in the treason trial of former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. However, legal experts believe the case is done and over with.
After sweeping to power in 2013, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) constituted a three-member special court to try the General Musharraf for allegedly subverting the Constitution in November 2007.
After holding over 70 hearings, the special court – headed by Sindh High Court Chief Justice Faisal Arab – directed the government to also implicate as Musharraf’s facilitators’ former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, former chief justice Abdul Hamid Dogar and a sitting federal minister –Zahid Hamid – who was also the law minister in Aziz’s cabinet.
The trio later approached the IHC against the special court’s verdict and contended that the special court implicated them in treason trial, despite the fact that the federal government had not included their names in the list of Musharraf’s abettors.
Meanwhile, the special court has adjourned its hearing till October 27 on the information that the IHC has yet to deliver its verdict. The Special Court has been dysfunctional since last November despite the fact that one of the petitioners, Advocate Taufiq Asif, invoked jurisdiction of the apex court to get the process accelerated.
“The federal government opted to remain silent during this period and did not challenge the Special Court’s verdict anywhere as it apparently took shelter behind individuals petitions filed in the IHC,” said a senior official in law ministry. The official said the federal government wanted to defer this case as long as possible.
Faisal Chaudhry, a member of Musharraf’s legal team, said the government has no option but to take back the complaint against Musharraf in treason trial and investigate the case afresh.
“But apparently it seems that the federal government will not repeat its mistake to pursue this case against former army chief in view of the concerns of the establishment,” he said.
Advocate Taufiq Asif, who filed this petition as president of Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench, is not happy with the federal government’s reply. He said Musharraf’s trial has almost concluded and the government can investigate his abettors and aiders separately.
Meanwhile, talking to The Express Tribune, Musharraf’s spokesman Major General (retd) Rashid Qureshi said the government lacked capability and character to pursue treason trial of former army chief and that it wanted to deter the people from joining Musharraf’s political block.
“Whenever they see Musharraf is filling the leadership gap, they start maligning him through such tactics,” he said, adding that some key decisions have been made regarding the proposed alliance of all Muslim League factions.
Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani recently commented that ‘Article 6 of the Constitution had become virtually redundant to prevent the derailment of democracy in future’.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2015.