LAHORE - The detailed verdict of the three-judge special court released on Thursday remained the subject of discussions at legal, political and other fora, with most people ridiculing the portions authored by Justice Waqar Seth, the chief justice of the Peshawar High Court. Paragraph 66 of the judgment in particular was subjected to severe criticism.

The federal government announced in the evening that it would move the Supreme Judicial Council against this judge under Article 209 of the Constitution. The judge’s “lack of mental capacity” to hold the office would be the main reason behind the petition.

As for the verdict, former president Gen Musharraf’s lawyer Raza Bashir alleged that his client had not been given justice and also been discriminated.

Talking to media after the detailed judgment was released, he said legal team of the former president had sought the constitution of a team to record statement of the ailing former president who was in Dubai for medical treatment. He regretted that the application was not heard.

Likewise, he said, the former president had filed an acquittal application under 265-A which was not entertained.

Former president’s lawyer says trial was not fair

The lawyer further said that the language of the verdict was not appropriate and had never been used in the history of law. Justice (retd) Shaiq Usmani said the judgment in treason case against former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf was legally and morally wrong and will be suspended by the Supreme Court on the very first hearing of the appeal against it.

Talking to media, he said a dead body, in Islam, cannot be disgraced. In his opinion it will not be possible for anyone to implement the verdict.

Former attorney general Irfan Qadir bitterly criticised the verdict, and alleged that it made Pakistan a laughing stock in the world.

He advised the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of the matter and suspend the judgment.

Another former attorney general Ashtar Ausaf said language of the verdict was not right and should not have been used at all.

He said it was wrong on the part of the judge to order dragging of the body in D-Chowk or hanging it for three days.

In his opinion the entire case will get reopened on the filing of the appeal.

Pakistan Bar Council leader Ahsan Bhoon said the opinion given by the Peshawar High Court chief justice was reflective of his state of mind. “It’s a prejudiced mind”.

Advocate Salman Akram Raja said the language used in paragraph 66 of the detailed judgment was beyond anyone’s imagination.

As for the question of personal appearance of Gen Musharraf before the court for filing an appeal against the verdict, he said the former president would have to file an application to seek exemption if he was unable to turn up. However, it was for the Supreme Court to decide whether to accept the request. Advocate Azhar Siddique said the court had breached its oath by proposing disgrace of the dead body, for which there was no provision in the Constitution.

He argued that holding the Constitution in abeyance didn’t mean abrogation of the basic law. Also, he said, a criminal offence could not be registered with retrospective effect.

Former judge Dr Khalid Ranjha called the D-Chowk hanging advice as ‘misconduct’.  It was highly regrettable, he said, that a judge of the high court did not know what kind of language he should use in the judgment.

Asked if Gen Musharraf had been given a fair trial, the former judge said there was no clause in the law under which a judgment could be given when the accused was absconding.

Senior lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan was of the view that Justice Seth’s decision was unconstitutional, illegal which could not be implemented.

A lawyers’ convention organised by the Punjab Bar Council here on Thursday supported the special court’s judgment against the former president. At the same time, the participants said that the army was national institution and upholding their prestige was everyone’s duty.

Many speakers lauded role of the lawyers for an independent judiciary and supremacy of the Constitution. They said the former president had the right to appeal against special court’s verdict.