Home Pakistan IHC Dismisses Musharraf’s Petition to remove Terrorism Charges against him

IHC Dismisses Musharraf’s Petition to remove Terrorism Charges against him

The IHC has made it clear that detaining sitting judges is an act of terrorism. There can be no compromise on it. Will Musharraf come back to Pakistan and face the courts when terrorism charges against him won't drop?

Musharraf

The Islamabad High Court has once again dismissed a petition that sought deletion of terrorism charges against former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf and transfer of the judges’ detention case from the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) to the sessions court. The court maintained that since the former dictator is not appearing before it, there is no question of any concession. Moreover, the court also noted that detaining sitting judges is also an act of terrorism.

An IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb had resumed the hearing of the petition filed by Gen Musharraf through his lawyer Akhtar Shah.

The bench dismissed the petition because of the repeated absence of Mr. Shah during the hearing of the case.

The former military ruler has been seeking deletion of terrorism charges and subsequent transfer of his case from the ATC to the sessions court on the ground that initially the first information report (FIR) was registered under the Pakistan Penal Code against him in connection with the detention of 60 judges of the superior judiciary after the imposition of emergency on Nov 3, 2007.

Musharraf knows his position is very weak and the courts are comparatively independent now, therefore, he would never commit a mistake of surrendering before the present government

However, in 2013, a single-member bench of the IHC had ordered the police to invoke the anti-terror law against the military dictator since detaining judges is an act of terrorism.

It is worth noting that the special court seized with the high treason trial of former military dictator retired Gen Pervez Musharraf has decided to proceed in the case on a daily basis to conclude the trial pending since December 2013.

Analysts believe the conclusion of the case in either way, for or against, is likely to benefit Musharraf for several reasons.

The special court comprising Justice Nazar Akbar and Justice Shahid Karim resumed proceedings in the treason trial on last Tuesday. Advocate Raza Bashir, the defense counsel appointed by the law ministry on the directive of the special court, filed an application seeking his meeting with Mr. Musharraf for getting instructions from him to argue the case. The court expressed displeasure and later adjourned the case.

Background of the case

Musharraf is being trialed for imposing emergency in 2007 and detaining the judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. A case was registered against him in 2013 and his name was placed in the Exit Control List (ECL) by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on the directives of the Sindh High Court (SHC). Later on, the Supreme Court of Pakistan allowed Musharraf to go abroad for his medical check-up and his name was removed from the ECL.

Moreover, the special court has declared Mr. Musharraf an absconder, issued perpetual warrants of his arrest and commenced proceedings under Section 87, 88 CrPC for attachment of his properties on July 19, 2016. On April 29, 2018, an application was filed by the federal government to give verdict on high treason case against Musharraf as early as possible.

The application titled “Federal Government of Pakistan versus retired General Pervez Musharraf” read “The turn of events have unfolded and he [Musharraf] has categorically made statement to the media abroad that he left the country with the help of his institution thereby casting aspersions on our armed forces and its then chief retired Gen Raheel Sharif.”

It further mentioned that “it is a matter of common knowledge that shortly after leaving Pakistan he was seen on videos shared on social media sites where he is swaying to the beats of the music in wedding festivities and during his three months preferred stay in Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) he did not receive a single tablet of aspirin or underwent any angiogram test as according to him at that time the angiogram posed a potential threat to his life”.

Read More: Musharraf to be tried in absentia in treason case: Special Court

The army has, however, neither rejected nor confirmed what is said by Retd. General. The former CJP made many attempts to bring back the former military dictator to Pakistan but all in vain.

Analysts’ Opinion

Analysts believe that the former President shall prefer not to come back and create some serious problems for himself. It is believed that the health condition of Musharraf is not satisfactory which clearly gives him a reason to avoid court proceedings or serve any term in the prison if convicted after he fails to defend himself before the court.

Last time when the former CJP designed a trap for Musharraf and invited him to come back on his on conditions e.g. pre-arrest bail and dignified treatment, analysts suggested Musharraf not to throw himself in troubled waters. Dr. Moeed Pirzada, a prominent Pakistani journalist, said that “Will Gen. Musharraf be “naive” enough to fall in this trap? Hope he has brains enough not to create problems for all sides…and he won’t win from any seats…enjoy retired life..”

GVS contacted G-M Pitafi, academic and political commentator, for his comment on the development. “I have always maintained that the former dictator shall not come back. He left the country not to return and face the courts. Musharraf knows his position is very weak and the courts are comparatively independent now, therefore, he would never commit a mistake of surrendering before the present government,” he said.

Read More: Treason Case: How will Gen. Musharraf benefit from the verdict?

When asked what will happen if Musharraf does not come back, Mr. Pitafi said “nothing is going to happen. The world shall remain the same. The court may give a verdict against Musharraf which shall always remain controversial since the former dictator’s followers would have some excuses to politically challenge and disregard the decision given in the absence of their leader”.

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