LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday declared establishment of the special court against former president general (retd) Pervez Musharraf in high treason case unconstitutional, which leaves the death sentence verdict announced by it null and void.
The high court also declared Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act, 1976’s clause iv defunct. The court said this while announcing its verdict in the petition filed by Musharraf, challenging legality of establishment of the special court which announced death sentence against him in December last year for his role in alleged high treason.
The court said viewing the facts in the case, Musharraf could not even be implicated into charges let alone announcing death sentence against him. “The ruling of two judges was based on distorted facts,” it said referring to the special court verdict.
The later amendment in Article 6 could not be implemented on an act committed in the past, the LHC said.
A three-member bench of the LHC comprising Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Naqvi, Justice M Ameer Bhatti and Justice Chaudhry Masood Jahangir were hearing the case. Mazahar Ali Naqvi read the court ruling.
On Jan 10, Mazahar Naqvi had asked the federal government to present arguments on setting up of the special court on Jan 13 (today).
The court said action was taken against the former dictator on order of the then prime minister. It said a ruling could not be announced in absence of the accused.
Earlier, before reserving the verdict, the court had wondered whether a treason case would be run against the government, if it got stuck in serious circumstances and imposed the emergency.
Additional Attorney General Ishtiaq Ahmed had responded it could only be determined, in what capacity it was imposed and whether it was under the constitution or not, after it was imposed. He said basic human rights could be suspended in an emergency.
Justice Mazahir had asked then how it would be violation of the constitution. Ishtiaq Khan had said the parliament added the word of suspension of the constitution in Article 6. Mazahir Naqvi had wondered that the status of the constitution was altered through addition of three words only. He had also asked what would happen if emergency was imposed in just one province.
On Dec 27, 2019 former dictator had challenged the special court’s treason case verdict in the Lahore High Court (LHC).
According to details, the ex-president had adopted the stance that the decision was announced hurriedly as a case against the formation of the special court was already under hearing in the LHC.
The former military official had further requested the court to issue orders to cease implementation on the sentence by nullifying paragraph 66 of the verdict.
Earlier on December 17, special court in Islamabad had sentenced former president and top military official Pervez Musharraf to death in high treason case.
Justice Nazar Akbar had opposed the verdict of sentencing Pervez Musharraf to death and cleared him of the accusations while Justice Waqar Seth and Justice Shahid Karim handed him the death penalty.