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PM and Iftikar Chaudhry Wrongly Targetted by Pervez Musharaf: ex CJP Sheikh

The prosecution has said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry are being unnecessarily targeted by the defence in the high treason case against ex-President Pervez Musharraf.

“The federation and the Constitution are the party in the case against Musharraf and not the incumbent prime minister and ex-Chief Justice,” lead prosecutor Akram Sheikh Tuesday told a three-judge special court being headed by Justice Faisal Arab.

Defence counsel Anwar Mansoor had argued that the prime minister, instead of cabinet, had decided to initiate high treason case against Pervez Musharraf. He also raised objection on the way the special court was set up, saying the notification for the special court had to be issued in the name of the President, which was not done in the present case. The defence side had also said that both PM Nawaz and ex-CJP had personal grudge against Gen (r) Musharraf.
Replying to the objections raised by Musharraf’s counsel, Sheikh pleaded that the notification for establishment of Special Court was issued in accordance with the law after the investigation of the matter by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). He told that the FIA had conducted the inquiry and investigation before filing of the case, adding the government has solid proofs against former dictator.

“We have documentary proof that the accused had signed the proclamation of emergency notification on Nov 3, 2007 that’s why his trial for high treason is being sought,” he said. The pieces of evidence and the proof have been filed with the complaint, he further said. Sheikh argued that under Rules of Business the interior secretary has to file complaint against the accused.

“The cabinet and the prime minister have no role in the prosecution of former military dictator.” He said that the federation on the direction of the Supreme Court initiated the high treason case and it consulted the ex-Chief Justice for the sake of transparency. Sheikh said the special court was constituted in a transparent manner and according to rules and regulations. He said the judges for the special court were nominated according to the Rules of Business and according to the rules, FIA investigated the case.
He said the Supreme Court in dismissal of national assembly case by the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1993 had ruled that the government failure is not parliament’s failure. Sheikh said for the last 20 years a high treason case under Article 6 of Constitution has been going on in which interior secretary is the complainant, adding in high treason case the interior secretary represents federal government. He said the defence side’s objections on the constitution of special court are baseless and they hold no water if Section 2 of Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act 1976 is read with Rules of Business.

Justice Faisal Arab questioned as to whether interior secretary had any special authority to file a complaint without consulting the government. He further asked whether interior secretary has the authority to get high treason case started on his own and if the secretary has the authority to pick and choose the accused.
Akram Sheikh replied interior secretary has the authority to initiate treason case proceeding but he doesn’t choose the accused as it hinges on the investigation. He said for example if in a murder case 100 people are allegedly involved then only those persons would be convicted against whom solid evidence would be available. He said if Pervez Musharraf appearing before the court record his statement and mention the names of collaborators and abettors then the court could also proceed against them. Sheikh said presently there were five high courts in the country and the names for the special court was sought from the chief justices of all the high courts, and out of them three judges were selected.

The lead prosecutor said it was difficult for the federal government to select three judges from five therefore the law ministry had written to the Chief Justice who forwarded the ministry letter to the chief justices of high courts and after getting the names sent back, the ministry itself selected the three names. He presented before the court the whole record of the process for the nomination of judges as well as constitution of the bench. The prosecution completed his arguments on Tuesday and now defence would present the rebuttal. The hearing has been adjourned until Thursday.

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