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Pervez Musharraf moved SC against verdict of special court

17 January, 2020

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ISLAMABAD: Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on Thursday moved Supreme Court (SC) against the verdict of the special court which sentenced him to death in a high treason case.

Barrister Salman Safdar, the counsel for the former army chief, submitted the petition challenging the special court verdict in the apex court. In the petition, the former president urged the Supreme Court to declare the special court’s ruling null and void.

In the 90-page petition filed before the top court, Musharraf claimed that he was not given a fair trial by the special court. The petition argued that the SC should suspend the ruling of the special court until the top court reviews the case.

In the appeal, Musharraf pleaded that the special court ruling in the high treason case is not consistent with the principles of Islam. The appeal claims that the ruling in the case is against the basic tenets of an Islamic state. It further noted that Musharraf was not allowed his right to appoint a lawyer in the case, and the verdict was announced without his presence in the courtroom.

The complaint registered against the former president which resulted in the trial has also been challenged in the apex court, with counsel for Musharraf claiming that the permission of the federal government had not been sought before the case was brought to trial.

In his appeal, Musharraf said that based on the grounds of the application, since the trial has been conducted and completed ‘in sheer violation’ of the Constitution and the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, the special court’s judgement should be set aside. “Any other remedy that the honourable court deems fit and proper may also be granted,” the appeal added. As per the preliminary submissions, “In a nutshell, it is the case of the appellant (Musharraf) that he was being tried for an alleged constitutional crime in an entirely unconstitutional manner.”

According to Musharraf’s appeal, the prosecution’s case had suffered from an ‘admitted, noticeable and unexplained delay’ of over five years from the date of the alleged offence and the intiation of proceedings. “That the malice of the federal government is apparent from the ‘selective’, ‘discriminatory’ and ‘biased’ nature of the investigation and prosecution,” the appeal stated.

The grounds for the application challenging the special court’s verdict included: a delay (noticeable and unexplained in initiating high treason case), no offence of high treason made out, prosecutorial misconduct and discriminatory/selective prosecution, complaint filed without federal government/cabinet approval, coram non-judice – the special court was not constituted in the appropriate manner, special court had concluded the proceedings without examining the accused, the mode, manner and language of the judgement, status as absconder and trial in absentia, right to counsel and judicial bias.

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