Musharraf high treason case: LHC issues detailed verdict setting aside special court’s conviction order

The Lahore High Court (LHC) issued a detailed verdict in Musharraf’s High Treason case setting aside the conviction order of the special court, media reported on Monday. The judgment was based on 36 pages.

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The judgment was issued by LHC bench comprising Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti and Justice Chaudhry Masood Jahangir. The bench set aside all measures starting from the filing of the complaint, the formation of a special court, trial in absentia, the appointment of the prosecution team and the conclusion of the trial.

The LHC ruled that the steps were taken in violation of the Constitution, law, and principles of the criminal justice system laid down by the superior courts.

The LHC ruling stated that constitutional parameters were not fulfilled in deciding the high treason case. It added that trial in absentia in a violation of Article 10-A which guarantees the right to a fair trial to the accused.

The detailed verdict stated that the case against the former president was neither prepared nor filed in accordance with the law. It stated that cabinet approval to initiate the charges and filing of the case, which is mandatory, was not sought.

The verdict mentioned that amended Article-6 of the Constitution under which Musharraf was found guilty of suspending the Constitution, could not be applied in the said case.

The court maintained that Section 9 of the Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act, 1976, which allows the special court to conduct the trial in absentia, being ultra vires of the Constitution.

Pervez Musharraf had filed petitions challenging the special court’s verdict and other relative steps including filling of the complaint and the selection of prosecution team by the then government headed by Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

Earlier, the counsel for Musharraf said the formation of special court was illegal. He said that Nawaz Sharif, who was Prime Minister at that time, had lodged a ‘fake’ case against Musharraf due to personal grudges.

Justice Naqvi inquired about the section under which, the trial court had indicted the accused in the case. The law officer replied that the indictment was carried out on the charge of violating the Constitution by imposing an emergency in the country.

The Special Court on December 17 had sentenced Pervez Musharraf to death in the high treason case. Justice Nazar Akbar had opposed the verdict of sentencing him to death and cleared him of the accusations while Justice Waqar Seth and Justice Shahid Karim handed him the death penalty.

The court had observed that the facts of this case were well documented and clearly demonstrate the guilt on the part of the accused.

Read the detailed verdict here: 2020LHC86

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