Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday ruled that only Pervez Musharraf should be tried for treason for subverting the Constitution in 2007, one day after the former president went to court to seek permission to go abroad for medical treatment.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa set aside a special court’s order calling for re-investigation of the high treason case against Musharraf. It observed the special court may not have enough powers to include additional suspects in an investigation unless the federal government itself wants them to be probed.
The ruling will delay any move by Musharraf to leave the country. High treason is punishable with death if proved. Musharraf has pleaded non-guilty.
The Supreme Court accepted former chief justice Abdul Hameed Dogar’s appeal to exclude him from the investigation into the treason case launched against 72-year-old Musharraf in 2013 for imposing emergency in 2007, when he was president.
Earlier, the special court trying Musharraf had directed the Federal Investigation Agency to re-investigate the case by including former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, former minister Zahid Hamid and Dogar. The former chief justice had challenged his inclusion in the Islamabad High Court, which rejected his plea.
Dogar again challenged the order in the Supreme Court, which annulled the special court’s decision.
“There is no provision in the Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act, 1976 requiring the special court to await the result of any fresh investigation or to postpone the trial of an accused person till an amended or additional statement of the case or list of accused persons or the charge is submitted by the federal government after such fresh investigation,” the apex court observed while directing the special court to proceed with Musharraf’s trial “without any delay”.
During the hearing, Justice Khosa remarked that whatever was done with superior court judges by Musharraf in 2007 would not affect the court’s decision and justice would be done to the military dictator in accordance with the Constitution and law.
Khosa referred to an earlier judgement by a 14-member bench of the apex court which said Musharraf was solely responsible for the 2007 emergency.
Musharraf’s counsel Farogh Nasim contended the trial of all the accused should be conducted jointly. He requested the bench to refrain from giving such observations as the issue was not before its consideration.
Nasim further suggested the top court should give a timeline to the Federal Investigation Agency for completing the investigation, adding there should not be selective prosecution.
Musharraf was taken to a military hospital in Karachi earlier this week with spinal cord pain. A team of doctors advised him to visit the hospital for further medication. On February 11, he was taken to the same hospital with acute pain in his back and later shifted home after a few hours.
He has been facing a slew of court cases after returning from five years in self-exile to contest the 2013 general election which he lost.