- Legal issues can only be settled legally
The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday threw out death penalty awarded by a special court to former military ruler Pervez Musharraf and declared unconstitutional all actions taken by the previous government against him, including the filing of a complaint on high treason charge and the formation of a special court as well as its proceedings. Those disagreeing with the verdict have to take recourse to higher judicial forums.
The verdict has meanwhile shocked many in the country who have not forgotten the pictures of the manhandling of the then Chief Justice of Pakistan on the roads of Islamabad or the way the military ruler put judges under house arrest
The Supreme Court has for years overseen the cases filed against Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf. Despite human memory being notoriously short, those reading newspapers carefully still remember November 3 2007 when President-cum-COAS Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency and suspended the Constitution of Pakistan. People also recall the countrywide celebrations following the SC judgment in the PCO judges’ case. On 5 April 2013, the Supreme Court accepted a petition filed against General Musharraf that accused him of committing high treason under Article 6 of the Constitution. In 2014 the apex court’s 14-member bench headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani disposed of the former military ruler’s petition against the 31 July 2009 verdict that accused him of declaring an emergency in November 2007 that was illegal and unconstitutional.
The LHC has called the special court formed for Musharraf treason trial unconstitutional. But on 18 November 2013, the Supreme Court accepted the Sharif government’s request to set up a Special Court to try Musharraf under Section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act 1973.
For a common man it is difficult to understand that a judgment by a lower court could undo what was being done under the careful watch of the SC.