–Three-member bench tells newly-formed prosecution team to conclude arguments in the next hearing
ISLAMABAD: The special court constituted for the trial of former military ruler General (r) Pervez Musharraf over high treason charges will announce the verdict in the case on December 17.
The former president is under trial for abrogating and subverting the Constitution through proclamation of emergency on November 3, 2007.
A three-member bench headed by Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth and comprising Justice Shahid Kareem and Justice Nazeer Akbar heard the case on Thursday and said they would announce the verdict after hearing arguments of the new prosecution team formed by the government.
Prosecutor Advocate Ali Zia Bajwa said that he and Munir Bhatti have been appointed as prosecutors in the case. He said that he received the notification of his appointment at 4:00PM on Wednesday. He also pleaded the court to grant him time to go through the 3,000 pages of case record handed over to him since he did not want to depend on the arguments presented by the previous prosecution team.
Justice Akbar asked Advocate Bajwa to inform the court when he would present his arguments since he would not given more than a week for preparation. The prosecutor asked the court to give him time since there is already a lot of pressure on him.
Justice Seth told the prosecution team to set aside other cases for a while to focus solely on the treason case. He said that judges too had come from various parts of the country for the case. “This is a special case being heard by a special court,” he added.
Adjourning the hearing, Justice Seth said that the court will hear the arguments of the new prosecution team on December 17 and announce the verdict on the same day.
On November 27, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had stopped the special court from issuing the verdict it had earlier reserved in the said case. In its decision, the IHC had ruled that its order of stopping the special court from announcing its verdict was binding on the special court bench regardless of the fact that it comprises three high court judges.
Additionally, the high court had directed the government to notify a new prosecution team by December 5 as the government on October 24 had sacked the entire legal team engaged by the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government to prosecute the case.
The high treason trial of the former military dictator for imposing a state of emergency on November 3, 2007, has been pending since December 2013.
He was booked in the case in December 2013. Musharraf was indicted on March 31, 2014, and the prosecution had tabled the entire evidence before the special court in September the same year. However, due to litigation at appellate forums, the trial of the former military dictator lingered on and he left Pakistan in March 2016.
In September this year, a special court bench had decided to conduct the trial on a daily basis from October 8 to conclude the case.