–Newly-constituted bench to commence hearing on former president’s petition on Jan 9
LAHORE: A full bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) has been constituted to hear convicted military ruler General (r) Pervez Musharraf’s petition challenging the formation of a special court that had sentenced him to death in the high treason case.
The bench will be chaired by Justice Amir Bhatti while Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Chaudhry Muhammad Masood Jahangir will be part of it. The hearings on the former president’s petition will commence on January 9, 2020.
Musharraf had earlier moved the high court against the formation of the special court citing legal flaws in the procedure. He had asked the high court to stop the special court from announcing its verdict in absentia.
However, the verdict was announced on December 17, just three days after the former military ruler had filed his petition.
He was given a death penalty after the three-member bench convicted him in a treason case on the basis of Article 6 of the constitution which states that any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or hold in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance the Constitution by use of force or show force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.
The former president was booked in the treason case in 2013 for suspending the Constitution by imposing a state of emergency in the country on November 3, 2007.
He was declared a proclaimed offender and later sentenced under Article 6. The special court’s verdict marks the first time in Pakistan’s history that a military chief has been declared guilty of high treason and handed a death sentence.
Following the verdict, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had termed the trial against Musharraf “unfair”. Addressing a late-night joint press conference the same day, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan had said that he “will defend the law in the case but not any individual”.
The armed forces stood by Musharraf, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor, in a statement, had said that the “decision given by special court has been received with [a] lot of pain and anguish by rank and file of Pakistan Armed Forces”.
Later, the detailed verdict in the case, which was issued a few days later, stirred controversy as it had stated that the former president must be arrested and hanged to death and if he dies before the sentence is executed, his body must be dragged to D Chowk of the federal capital and hanged for three days. The detailed verdict drew criticism from members of the political, legal and religious fraternities.