On Tuesday morning, a three-member bench of the special court, headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, handed former military ruler Pervez Musharraf death sentence in the long-drawn high treason case against him.
Musharraf was indicted on March 31, 2014, and the prosecution had tabled the entire evidence before the special court in September the same year. However, due to litigation at appellate forums, the trial of the former military dictator lingered on and he left Pakistan in March 2016.
First time in the history of Pakistan a dictator finally got death sentence for abrogating constitution of Pakistan three member court announced the verdict today
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) December 17, 2019
It is pertinent to mention that the special court last month had also reserved its verdict in the long-drawn high treason case. However, an Islamabad High Court (IHC) order on November 27 — a day before the special court was set to announce its verdict — stopped the special court from doing so after the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government sought deferment of the announcement of the verdict.
Although the special court — comprising Justice Seth, Justice Nazar Akbar of the Sindh High Court (SHC) and Justice Shahid Karim of the LHC — had announced that it would deliver its verdict in the case today, the government’s prosecutor, Advocate Ali Zia Bajwa, said that they had submitted three petitions today.
Read more: High Treason: Musharraf losing against time
One of the petitions asks that the court make three individuals — former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, former Supreme Court chief justice Abdul Hameed Dogar and former law minister Zahid Hamid — suspects in the case.
Justice Akbar questioned the lawyer regarding the evidence against the individuals that the government wanted to include in the case.
— ARY News (@ARYNEWSOFFICIAL) December 17, 2019
“The stage of investigations and [presenting] evidence has passed. Has there been a new investigation against the included suspects?” he asked, in response to which the prosecutor said that an investigation can only be carried out after the complaint is registered.
“If three individuals are made suspects, the government should also submit requests to make the former cabinet and corps commanders suspects,” he added.
Justice Karim said that without the court’s permission, indictments cannot be amended. Justice Akbar added that no formal request had been received by the court for changes to the charge sheet.
“Without the court’s permission, no new request can be submitted,” said Justice Karim, adding: “We will not hear arguments on a request that was not formally submitted.”
“The prosecution doesn’t even know how to submit a request in the court,” remarked Justice Akbar, at which the prosecutor apologized. “Your purpose was just to get through today,” the judge noted.