ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Monday, accepting the federation's application for early hearing against Sindh High Court's judgment to remove former President Pervez Musharraf's name from the exit control list (ECL), has referred the matter to the chief justice of Pakistan.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Justice Ejaz Afzal heard the appeal. During the hearing, the entire legal team of Musharraf was present in the courtroom.

Attorney General for Pakistan Salman Butt argued before the court that it was the case of urgent nature in view of its importance and public interest. He said if within 15 days the apex court does not pass an order against the SHC's judgement then the appeal would become infructuous.

The Sindh High Court on June 12 had ordered the removal of Musharraf's name from the ECL, but had suspended this order for around two weeks giving the federal government time to appeal against the decision.

Justice Saqib Nisar said the SHC's 15 days timeframe not ending tomorrow. However, the AGP contended even if the SHC reviews its own order then the federation’s appeal would be ineffective.

Justice Saqib said for them a case of a palace or hut is also very important. The bench said they could not fix the date of the case hearing, as it was the prerogative to the chief justice of Pakistan to fix the date. The sources have shared that the SHC has fixed the review petition of Musharraf on June 18 before a two-member special bench headed by Justice Mazhar Ali. General (r) Pervez Musharraf's counsels on June 13 approached the court once again to get the permission for leaving the country as soon as possible.

The federation's point of view was that Pervez Musharraf was 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". It argued in the petition that the permission granted by the SHC would adversely affect the proceedings in the trial of the respondent.

Meanwhile, the federation moved another application after the hearing to fix the appeal today (Tuesday).

In its second application the government stated that the matter is an issue of urgent nature and of great public importance, as the constitution, independence of judiciary and rule of law are involved.

The government has also expressed apprehension that after the issuance of the SHC's June 12 judgment, there is a great likelihood that Musharraf may leave Pakistan. Trial under article 6 of the constitution is taking place for the first time in the history of Pakistan and should not be allowed to be frustrated or undermined. In view of the importance of this case, it is respectfully requested that this matter may be fixed at the earliest date, June 17, it added.