ISLAMABAD - The federal government Saturday filed an appeal against the Sindh High Court judgment praying to set aside the impugned judgment, and asking for allowing to keeping former President Pervez Musharraf’s name on the ECL.
The federation’s the instant appeal against the SHC judgment would be heard by a three-member bench headed by Justice Saqib Nisar and including Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Justice Ejaz Afzal tomorrow (Monday).
The Sindh High Court on June 12 had ordered the removal of Musharraf's name from the Exit Control List (ECL) but had suspended this order for around two weeks giving the federal government time to file appeal against the decision.
Interior ministry on behalf of the federation filed the appeal under Article 185 (3) of the Constitution and made Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) Islamabad director, FIA Sindh and FIA Karachi Airport Immigration additional director as respondents.
The petitioner questioned whether the SHC was required to deal with the matter in terms of Article 187(2) to execute the Order of the Supreme Court instead of invoking extraordinary Article 199 jurisdiction despite the fact that it lacked territorial jurisdiction to entertain and decide the writ petition filed by Musharraf and consequently pass the impugned judgment, without jurisdiction?
The petitioner said the name of Musharraf was placed on ECL pursuant to the apex court order dated 8-04-2013. He, therefore, was also restrained from going abroad. It asked whether the High Court was bound by the order of the Supreme Court dated 8-4-2013, and if it committed a serious error of law by ignoring the said SHC order. It said the SC’s was an independent order which did not merge into the final order (3-7-2013); therefore it still held the field.
However, the High Court completely ignored this aspect and passed the judgment by treating the said order as only an interim order without realising and keeping in view the most important factor that the said petitions wherein the 8-4-13 order had been passed were disposed of and not dismissed. The doctrine of merger was not applicable to the instant case.
The federation contended that Pervez Musharraf is accused of High Treason under Article 6 of the Constitution and if he is allowed to go abroad, his trial would eventually end, since the extradition treaty executed between Pakistan and UAE does not cover an act of "Political Crime". The petitioner argued that the permission granted by the SHC would adversely affect the proceedings in the trial of the respondent.
It said that it is well settled that the right to travel abroad was although a fundamental right of every citizen but the federal government can put reasonable restrictions including travelling abroad in the public interest. Moreover, the alleged grounds for the removal of his name from ECL by the Respondent in his application to Ministry of Interior on 02-04-14 were self-contradictory and lacked bona fides. The SHC has not at all gone into the said grounds and it did not examine whether the same were bona fide grounds.
The federation said Musharraf has been avoiding his trial on one pretext or another and since he is accused amongst other offences of the most serious offence of High Treason. The former president has all the reasons not to come back to Pakistan once he leaves country and his trial which is at an advanced stage would simply be brought to a standstill. It said the High Court failed to appreciate that the name of former army chief was placed on ECL pursuant to the order of the Supreme Court therefore the findings of the High Court are incorrect.