ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) on Thursday challenged the Lahore High Court (LHC) judgment against the Special Court’s death sentence to former Army Chief General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf.

PBC Vice-Chairman Abid Saqi, on behalf of highest representative and regulatory body of legal profession and lawyers in the country, filed the petition against the LHC judgment dated 13-01-2019 in the apex court.

Saqi stated that Musharraf on November 3 2007 imposed emergency throughout the country and Constitution was held in abeyance/suspended. The Supreme Court had declared that the Proclamation of Emergency Order (PEO), 2007, and the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) in violation of the Constitution and law and thus illegal, without lawful authority and of no legal effect by a 14-member bench of the apex court in Sindh High Court Bar Association vs federation case.

The apex court later dismissed Musharraf review petitions against the said judgment. Abid Saqib submitted that in pursuant to the 14-member bench declaration, a petition was filed before the Supreme Court praying that a case under Article 6 of Constitution be initiated against him for committing offence of high treason.

The apex court disposed of the petition when the then Attorney General for Pakistan informed the court that Prime Minister has directed the Secretary Interior to direct the DG FIA to constitute a special investigative team to inquire the matter regarding imposing emergency in the country and issuance of PCO by Musharraf. Ultimately the Special Court started Pervez Musharraf’s trial. In the meantime Lahore High Court Bar Association filed a review petition in Supreme Court that on 01-04-2019 passed an order.

In light of the apex court order the Special Court proceeded with the case against Musharraf.

“He was summoned on various dates, but in utter disregard of the rule of law and Constitution the ex-Army Chief absented himself and continued to remain absconded.” He said that Pervez Musharraf in November, 2019 filed a writ petition before the LHC and challenged the proceedings and sentence awarded by Special Court.

The vice-chief of PBC contended that the LHC order is illegal as it had no territorial jurisdiction to entertain the writ petition against the Special Court. The LHC while passing the impugned judgment has exercised such jurisdiction which was not vested in it under Article 199 of Constitution.

He added that the LHC is only authorized to check the vires of acts/orders/judgments of the courts subordinate to it and it cannot issue writ of ‘certiori’ with respect to any order/judgment of court not functioning under its supervision and control.

The petitioner maintained that the Special Court established under the Criminal Laws Amendment (Special Court) Act, 1976 was not a person performing functions in connection with the affairs of the federation, a province or a local authority. Therefore, the LHC had no authority under Article 199 (1)(a) of Constitution to declare that either the constitution of the Special Court or any order passed by it was without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

He continued that the LHC erred in the law while entertaining and deciding the Constitution petition filed by Pervez Musharraf on the subject when a constitution review petition 513/2014 is already pending before the Supreme Court.

The decision of the High Court is also against the principal of resjudicata (matter adjudicated by a competent court).