The Supreme Court of Pakistan, on Wednesday, issued a strongly-worded statement to clear out misconceptions associated with Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa’s involvement with the death sentence announced by a Special Court in former President Pervez Musharraf’s treason trial.
The statement issued by the Supreme Court dismissed certain “misleading and out of context news items” that implied that the Chief Justice had addressed the media with regards to the Pervez Musharraf high treason case.
Baseless & Concocted
The statement said that several TV channels and newspapers had published misleading and news items that attributed false statements with the Chief Justice. These statements, without “identifying any source” claimed that the Chief Justice was directly involved in the hasty conclusion of the Pervez Musharraf case.
SC clarification on news reports insinuating that the CJP was personally supervising and trying to expedite the special court’s proceedings in the Pervez Musharraf case pic.twitter.com/ULqq5M7uzv
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) December 18, 2019
These news stories claimed that the matter of the treason trial was being delayed, and the judiciary faced several delaying tactics in its efforts to conclude the case.
The statement read, “The above news items created an impression that the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan was personally involved in the progress of the case before the Special Court. It is hereby clarified that different benches of the Supreme Court of Pakistan had been hearing different aspects of the case of General (Retired) Pervez Musharraf and had passed various orders for early disposition of the said case.”
It added that the different benches that had been presiding over the various hearings of the Pervez Musharraf case had passed different orders to give the treason trial an early conclusion. For instance, in the February 9, 2015, petition against the Islamabad High Court in the Abdul Hamid Case, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa presided on the case as part of a three-member bench, alongside Justice Tariq Pervez, and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood.
In that hearing, the SC passed an order stating that the “Special Court is therefore expected to proceed with the trial of respondent No.2 with all convenient dispatch and without any unnecessary delay.”
In another petition filed by the Lahore Court Bar Association against Pervez Musharraf, another three-member bench of the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Khosa, passed an order on April 1, 2019. It held, “For the above reasons, the Special Court shall proceed with the trial on the next date of hearing. In case, the accused surrenders and appears before the Court he would be entitled to record his statement under section 342 Cr. PC and lead any other defense under the law.”
“However, in case the accused fails to appear on the next date of hearing, being a proclaimed offender, the Special Court is empowered to proceed against the accused even in his absence under section 9 of the Act.”
CJP Issued no Directives
The statement clarified that Chief Justice Khosa did not issue any sort of directions to the Special Court, aside from the judicial directions made by the concerned branches of the Supreme Court during the proceedings.
It added, “It is, therefore, clarified that the above-mentioned news items aired/published by the media were baseless, concocted, false, stage-managed, out of context and contrary to the facts.”
“To ensure accuracy in reporting it is expected that this clarification shall be aired/published with the same prominence as the earlier incorrect news items were carried. It is also expected that the accuracy of reporting shall be ensured in the future.”
Despite the Supreme Court’s clarification that the Honorable Chief Justice did not direct the Special Court, political circles are rife with criticism over the delays witnessed in the mega corruption cases targeting the political elite of the country. Many have voiced their criticism over the delays and relaxations awarded to corrupt and incarcerated leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Dr. Moeed Pirzada, a prominent analyst, observed that former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Hussain Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz are also absconders but the nation has not witnessed any efforts for the early deposition of their corruption cases.
Dr. Pirzada tweeted, “While Court could hand over “Death Sentence” to Gen. Musharraf in absentia, courts could not proceed on “corruption cases” of Hassan, Hussain Nawaz & Ishaq Dar because they are absconding? Some people clearly have more rights?”
While Court could hand over "Death Sentence" to Gen. Musharraf in absentia, courts could not proceed on "corruption cases" of Hassan, Hussain Nawaz & Ishaq Dar because they are absconding? Some people clearly have more rights? https://t.co/yZRqfoRfwJ via @@GVS_News
— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) December 18, 2019
Amir Zia, a noteworthy journalist, argued that former President Pervez Musharraf was being “politically victimized”.
This statement by @OfficialDGISPR articulates the thinking of #PakistanArmedForces & emotions of countless #Pakistanis.
The so-called treason case against #PervezMusharraf is mala fied.
The institution stands behind its former chief, who is being politically victimised. pic.twitter.com/WdztJysC5T
— Amir Zia (@AmirZia1) December 18, 2019
Hassan Alam Shad, a prominent legal analyst, and author observed that the SC verdict has encouraged the culture of “selective judgment” by letting go of some accused and persecuting some.
Shad said, “We just outdid ourselves. Selective justice is anathema to a legal system. Can’t let go some, hang a few, & proclaim the completion of the circle of justice.”
He added, “Laws have their own universe. We have created a parallel one. Waiting for the Big Bang.”
We just outdid ourselves.
Selective justice is anathema to a legal system.
Can't let go some, hang a few, & proclaim completion of the circle of justice.
Laws have their own universe. We have created a parallel one.
Waiting for the Big Bang.
— Hassan Aslam Shad (@HassShad) December 17, 2019