ISLAMABAD - Special Court Tuesday turned down the request of Musharraf’s counsels to make Shaukat Aziz’s letter, advising the former dictator to impose emergency on 3rd November 2007, part of the high treason trial.

The defence team presented a copy of the advisory by former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to then Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Pervez Musharraf for proclamation of emergency in the country. The court, however, rejected it as evidence because it was unattested and unverified. According to defence team, Shaukat Aziz on 3rd November 2007 wrote a two-page letter to the former army chief, advising him to impose emergency in the country due to grave threats to Pakistan because of internal disturbances, which are beyond the control of the federal and provincial governments.

“A situation has arisen where the government cannot be carried on in accordance with the constitution. There is no way out but to take emergent and extraordinary measures,” the letter said. “After examining the situation and after discussion with the people belonging to all segments of society, I advise you to immediately issue a Proclamation of Emergency, Provisional Constitutional Orders or President’s Orders, amending the constitution, an order prescribing fresh oaths of office for the members of the superior judiciary to abide by the Proclamation of Emergency and orders issued in pursuance thereof,” it further states.

Prosecutor Akram Sheikh objecting to the letter said it could not be made part of the proceedings as it was fictitious.

Farogh Naseem contended that the copy of Shaukat Aziz’s letter was available on the Internet, and it was also published by a newspaper. He argued that the former prime minister has not contradicted it and urged the court to direct the government to submit this document from the record or the court should summon Shaukat Aziz for verification of the letter and if Aziz could not come then the court should send a commission to him for the letter’s veracity. Upon that Justice Faisal Arab said that the letter could not be made part of the trial as it was unattested. However, the court allowed the defence counsel to cross-examine Maqsood-ul-Hassan, head of the FIA investigative team, on the basis of this document.

Maqsood-ul-Hassan replying to the question of defence team said that during the investigation it could not be established that the then cabinet members, governors, corps commanders, chief ministers and the provincial cabinet ministers facilitated, abetted or conspired with former army chief to proclaim emergency in the country. The FIA team head said it was neither in his knowledge that Shaukat Aziz sent advisory to Musharraf for imposing emergency, nor it was right to state that the prosecution had concealed any summary sent to ex-army chief by the then premier. He said the GHQ was approached through ministry of defence regarding the matter but FIA got not reply.

Farogh Naseem prayed to the court to allow him to file a civil miscellaneous application. However, Akram Sheikh objected to it, saying that it had already been decided that no application would be heard till finalisation of cross-examination of prosecution witnesses. The prosecutor said he would present his last witness on Wednesday (today).

The hearing was adjourned till September 10.