ISLAMABAD - Former president general (retired) Pervez Musharraf on Thursday moved the Supreme Court of Pakistan challenging the special court’s verdict in high treason case against him.

Musharraf filed the petition days after the Lahore High Court had quashed the verdict given by the special court in the high treason case and declared the formation of the bench as “unconstitutional”.

The former president adopted in his petition filed through his counsel Salman Safdar Advocate that he was being tried for an alleged constitutional crime in an entirely unconstitutional manner while he has been denied the right to a fair trial, squarely against Article 10-A of the Constitution and even his counsel was not allowed to assist the Learned Special Court in a case carrying capital punishment. 

He stated that the federal government failed to follow the mandatory procedure for filing a complaint for the offence of high treason and the prosecution was laced with malice, misconduct and employed illegal and unfair use of discretion while the special court was improperly constituted and was coram non judice. The prosecution failed to adequately define and prove, through evidence, the charge of High Treason.

The appellant maintained that no trial can be deemed to have been conducted against him as he was neither examined under Section 342 of CrPC nor was he afforded an opportunity to lead defence evidence. He added that the judgment penned by the special court fails to fulfil the requirements of Section 367 of CrPC. The Special Court violated Article 10(1) and 10-A of the Constitution and Section 340(1) of CrPC by removing his counsel and then appointing an inexperienced counsel at state expense.

He argued that the failure of the special court to submit itself to the constitutional jurisdiction of the Islamabad High Court and opted to ignore its Order dated 30.11.2019. The prosecution was selective as all the aiders and abettors were not sent for trial initially. However, belatedly when the aiders and abettors were sent up for trial through an amended statement/complaint, the Special Court continued the same in violation of S. 6(1)(cc) and (g) of the 1976 Act. The Learned Special Court conducted a trial in absentia which is against Article 10-A of the Constitution. 

Musharraf added the special court, fully recognising and acknowledging appellant’s ailments in 2013 and 2014 exempted him from personal appearance. He submitted that all eight prosecution witnesses were examined in his absence. 

“On no occasion he or his legal team delayed the matter. Till such time when he was present in the country, his legal team expeditiously followed up the case and examined all the prosecution witnesses,” stated the appellant. 

The former president mentioned that after he left the country he or his legal team could not proceed with the case, and while abroad, fell seriously ill and he was totally unfit to travel and return to Pakistan and stand trial.

He continued that the observation in the impugned judgment about delay was only aimed at shifting the blame from the special court to the legal team, so as to weakly justify trial in absentia. The appellant stated that the interim orders of the special court will reflect that the special court was satisfied that he was genuinely ill and unwell.

 He further said that the action of labelling and branding the appellant as a proclaimed offender under the circumstances is highly questionable. He stated that on many occasions the special court accepted the application on medical grounds. In support of the medical condition, irrefutable hospital records and medical certificates along with photographic and video evidence are also on the file, confirming the very grave illness of the appellant.