ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court’s (SC) registrar on Friday rejected an appeal filed by former military strongman General (r) Pervez Musharraf challenging his conviction by a special court in the high treason case, saying the convict has to first surrender to the authorities before appealing the sentence.
The Registrar Office refused to entertain the petition under Order XXIII Rule 8 of SC Rules 1980.
Musharraf’s lawyer, meanwhile, said that he would challenge the registrar’s objection within 30 days. “I have already prepared my arguments in this regard,” Advocate Salman Safdar told reporters.
Musharraf’s appeal is based on the verdict passed by Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, which has declared the filing of a complaint on high treason charge against the former president unconstitutional and termed the formation of the special court as well as its proceedings “illegal”.
The special court, comprising judges of three high courts, awarded the death sentence to Musharraf on Dec 17, with a dissenting note from one judge who said that instead of capital punishment, the former military ruler should’ve been awarded life imprisonment for imposing emergency and forcibly confining over 60 judges to their residences in 2007.
In reaction to the ruling, army had said that the decision was “received with lot of pain and anguish by rank and file of Pakistan armed forces”.
In his appeal, Musharraf alleged that the treason trial “suffered from interference and external pressures”.
The plea argued that Musharraf did not receive a fair trial, and that Islamabad High Court’s guidelines to ensure a fair trial, were disregarded.
The appeal also took strong exception to Paragraph 66 of the verdict, maintaining that desecration of a dead body was in contravention to the injunction of Islam, and violated human dignity.
In the said paragraph, Justice Waqar Seth giving his minority view ruled, “We direct the Law Enforcement Agencies to strive their level best to apprehend the fugitive/convict and to ensure that the punishment is inflicted as per law and if found dead, his corpse be dragged to the D-Chowk, Islamabad, Pakistan and be hanged for 3 days.”
The appeal stated that the prosecution case suffered from an “admitted, noticeable and unexplained delay” of over five years from the date of the alleged offence, which could draw “adverse inferences”. “…if the alleged offence was so heinous and so apparent, why did the prosecuting agency delay the initiation of the investigation and subsequent trial for such a long period of time. This delay serves to be fatal to the prosecution case as it reeks of malice and unfairness.”