ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday directed its registrar office to fix, in open court, a plea by former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf challenging the registrar’s decision to not entertain his plea against the special court’s high treason verdict.
During an in-chamber hearing, Musharraf’s counsel Salman Safdar appeared to present arguments. However, Justice Umar Ata Bandial fixed the matter to be heard by a three-member bench.
In December 2019, an SC-constituted special bench had sentenced Musharraf to death in absentia under Article 6 of the Constitution for the imposition of a state of emergency in 2007.
A month later, the former army chief approached the apex court seeking to overturn the high treason verdict. But the RO returned Musharraf’s plea after raising an objection under Supreme Court Rules 1980 that says a convict has to surrender to the authorities before filing an appeal.
Interestingly, Musharraf filed the appeal in the apex court even though a three-judge bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) has already declared unconstitutional the filing of high treason case against him, formation of the Special Court as well as its proceedings, leading to the abolition of the death penalty handed down to him on December 17.
The appeal stated that Musharraf’s health declined significantly requiring specialised treatment abroad and he was given permission and approval of the court to leave the country on medical grounds.
Former president’s attorney Salman Safdar, while filing the appeal, stated that the requirement of surrendering Musharraf is not applicable owing to his health condition.
It also mentioned that the former military dictator tried to return to Pakistan but was unable to because of his deteriorating health.
The petition also stated that the former president ‘deserves’ that his appeal is entertained and heard by the Supreme Court.
It also mentioned that Musharraf is neither a ‘fugitive from the law’, nor is he a ‘proclaimed offender’ or ‘absconder’ – particularly because he left Pakistan for medical treatment, with permission of the complainant.