Lahore - The   on Tuesday formed a three-member full bench to hear a petition filed by former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf challenging the trial of a high treason case, and formation of the special court conducting the trial against him.

Musharraf had filed the petition on December 17. Just three days later, he was handed a death penalty by the three-member special court in Islamabad. After the special court’s verdict, LHC judge Justice Naqvi had referred the matter to the LHC chief justice recommending the formation of a full bench to hear the petition.

The full bench will be headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi and consist of Justice Amir Bhatti and Justice Masood Jahangir. The newly-constituted bench will start hearing of the petition from January 9 next year.

Petitioner Musharraf had filed the petition in the Lahore High Court requesting the court to stop the special court from announcing the verdict it reserved in the case. The petitioner had challenged the constitution of the special court conducting his trial under high treason charges.

Newly-constituted bench will start hearing of petition from January 9 next year

In 2013, Musharraf was booked in the high treason case on charges of suspending the Constitution and imposing a state of emergency in the country on November 3, 2007.

Article 6 of the Constitution says: “Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance the Constitution by use of force or show force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.” The High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973 provides that the punishment for high treason is death or lifetime imprisonment.

Under the Article 6, the former military ruler was declared guilty of high treason and handed a death penalty.

The country’s top legal experts including Aitzaz Ahsan, former attorney general of Pakistan Irfan Qadir, Azhar Siddique questioned legality of special court’s verdict under Article 6 of the Constitution.

The legal experts have questioned legality of the trial and conviction of Pervez Musharraf in absentia.

For the first time in the country’s history, a former army chief was handed a death sentence though the verdict which is split 2-1.