LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday questioned how former military strongman General (r) Pervez Musharraf’s actions in 2007 fall under the ambit of Article 6 of the Constitution, as it resumed hearing of a petition filed by the former president requesting to stay the treason case trial being conducted against him until he recuperates and appears before the court.
Musharraf has maintained that owing to his deteriorating health, multiple life-threatening ailments and of his aged mother, he is unable to return to Pakistan ever since, despite having a strong desire to do so.
According to Article 6, any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason. A person found guilty of high treason as defined in Article 6 of the Constitution, shall be punishable with death or life imprisonment.
“Isn’t declaring an emergency and abrogating the Constitution two separate things?” Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi asked Additional Attorney General Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan.
“Where does the Article 6 apply? What does the SC judgement say?” Justice Naqvi probed further.
Musharraf’s counsel, however, pleaded that the petition filed in the apex court calls upon the federal government to take action; instead, it was filed on the directives of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
The case has been adjourned till December 17, and the court has directed Additional Attorney General Ishtiaq A Khan to discuss the matter with the interior secretary on whether the formal military ruler imposing emergency in 2007 amounts to the abrogation of the Constitution.
The court further asked whether the complaint could be withdrawn at this stage and sought the interior secretary’s opinion on how the act falls under Article 6.
Earlier, Gen (r) Musharraf, who is currently in Dubai for treatment of a ‘rare’ medical condition, recorded a video message from his hospital bed in which he said that he was ready to record his statement in the case.
“A judicial commission can come here and hear me out. It must see my health condition and make a decision. The commission, with my lawyer, must then be heard in the court,” he added.
On Nov 29, the Islamabad High Court (IHC), while hearing a petition of the interior ministry, had restrained the special court from announcing its verdict in the Musharraf treason case which it was to hand down on November 29.
In a two-page brief order, the IHC asked the special court to hear pleas of all sides and decide the case “in accordance with the law” while directing the government to form a new prosecution team for the case by December 5.