Former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf has filed a petition in the Lahore High Court challenging a special court’s verdict sentencing him to death in a high treason case on Friday.
On behalf of Musharraf, Azhar Siddique filed the petition in the High Court. The special court on December 17 had sentenced the former military ruler to death for imposing a state of emergency on November 3, 2007.
The petition states that Musharraf was not given a chance to present his arguments and that the “special court quite abruptly and hurriedly wrapped up a trial that was far from its conclusion.”
“The hastily announced judgment is emanating from a prosecution case which suffers, for all intents and purposes from an admitted, noticeable and unexplained delay of over five years from the date of the alleged offence and initiation of the proceeding,” the petition stated.
“The then government, by failing to follow the mandated procedure laid down in Section 5 (1) of the Special Courts Act, 1976, lodged the complaint against the applicant in an unlawful manner. Therefore, the complaint against the applicant is void ab initio. The law clearly prescribes that the special court shall only commence proceedings once a complaint of high treason is completely filed by the ‘federal government’.”
Furthermore, petition also challenges paragraph 66 of the special court’s verdict, which reads, “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 three days”.
“The honourable respective president of the special court has crossed all religious moral, civil and constitutional limits, while ruthlessly, irreligiously, unlawfully, unrealistically awarding a debilitating, humiliating, unprecedented and against the dignity of a person sentence,” the petition stated.
“The wordings in paragraph 66 of the impugned judgment, although holding minority view, is still an exercise of languages which directly violates Article 2 of the code of conduct to be observed by the judges,” the petition read.
Article 6 of the Constitution says that “Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or hold in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance the Constitution by use of force or show force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.”
According to the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973, the punishment for high treason is death or life time imprisonment.