–Rejects rumours of deal between government and opposition leaders, says Maryam won’t be allowed to travel abroad
Interior Minister Brigadier (r) Ijaz Shah on Friday said that the government has sought delay in the verdict of the high treason case against former military ruler General (r) Pervez Musharraf because it believes that the legal requirements of the case have not been met and the accused has “not been given a fair trial”.
Speaking on a television programme, the interior minister, who was once a close aide of the former military ruler, said that since Musharraf is the first man to be tried under Article 6 of the Constitution, it would be unfair to give verdict in the case without following all the steps in the criminal justice procedure. “The law should take its own course and all steps in the criminal justice procedure should be completed and he should be allowed to produce witnesses in his defence since he deserves a fair change,” he said, adding that this was not his personal opinion, rather the opinion of the government.
Questioning the merits of the case, the interior minister said that the order under which Musharraf had been booked was wrong. “All legal processes must be completed in a trail under Article 6 because the punishment for treason is death or imprisonment for life,” he added.
When asked whether the proclamation of state of emergency is the subversion of the Constitution, Shah avoided a direct answer and instead referred to the observations of the courts.
Speaking about the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision to grant bail to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, he said that no agreement had been signed between the government and the former president and he was only granted bail on medical grounds.
He also dispelled the notion that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif was allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment under a deal, saying that the federal government will approach the Punjab government if the former premier does not return within stipulated time. He also said that the government would not allow PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz to travel to London to visit her father since “her siblings and relatives are already there to look after him”.
The interior minister also condemned the lawyers’ attack on the Punjab Institute of Cardiology, saying that it was disappointing to see the “most educated class of society” storm a hospital because even in the two world wars, hospitals were not attacked. He added that the perpetrators would be given exemplary punishment.
Regarding the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) scandal, he said that “there is no harm in admitting if anything went wrong or mistakes were committed”. He added that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is holding an independent inquiry into the scandal.