ISLAMABAD/LAHORE - The Islamabad High Court Tuesday summoned the Secretary of Law and Justice in the federal ministry of interior’s petition against the Special Court’s decision to reserve its verdict against former army chief general (retd) Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case.

A three-member bench of the IHC headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the case and deferred the proceedings till today after issuing aforementioned directions.

During the hearing, Justice Athar remarked that the court would only hear the petition of the Ministry of Interior and it would not hear Musharraf’s petition as he has been declared a proclaimed offender as per the law.

Additional Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti informed the bench about the details of formation of the prosecution team in 2013. Then the bench asked from the AAG that did you know about the Supreme Court orders? It added that he is representing the federal government and he should be aware of the facts of the case.

Then the bench asked the representative of the interior ministry to read the relevant decision of the Supreme Court. At this, the AAG told the court that he had just received the case file.

Justice Athar remarked the additional attorney general is unaware of the facts of the case, call someone who knows background of the case, a representative from the ministry of law and justice who knows the case.

Later, the court directed the Secretary Law and Justice to appear before the court today with the record and adjourned the hearing till then.

A three-member Special Court headed by Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth and comprising Justice Nazar Akbar and Justice Shahid Kareem had reserved the verdict on November 19 which will be announced on November 28.

LHC PROCEEDINGS

The LHC Tuesday issued a notice to the federal government on a petition filed by former president Pervez Musharraf against a special court’s verdict reserved in a high treason case against him.

The LHC’ single bench also sought a notification and summary for setting up of the special court, which had ruled that a verdict in the case would be announced on the basis of available record.

Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi also sought assistance from the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) in the case.

The court heard the matter as an objection case after Registrar’s office questioned maintainability of the plea on the ground of territorial jurisdiction.

However, the bench overruled the objection raised by the office, and fixed the matter for hearing on November 28 after hearing arguments of the counsel representing Pervez Musharraf.

The court further observed that as per the media reports, a similar petition had also been filed in the Islamabad High Court.

Khawaja Ahmad Tariq Rahim, Musharraf’s counsel, submitted that interior ministry had filed the petition.

Agreeing with the Supreme Court (SC) judgment in Mustafa Impex case, the court asked the counsel to give arguments on maintainability of the plea.

The counsel referred to Model Ayyan Ali’s case, and argued that the LHC could hear the matter. He further submitted that no approval had been sought from the federal cabinet for setting up the special court, thus it did not have any legal status.

He expressed the doubt that if setting up of the special court was questionable, what would be the status of the court’s decision against the former military dictator in the case. To a query, the counsel replied that his client had gone abroad for medical treatment after taking permission from the court.

After hearing the arguments, the court overruled the objection and fixed the petition for hearing on November 28, the same day that had been fixed by the special court to announce the verdict in the case.

Musharraf’s counsel gave arguments to justify hearing of the case by the LHC at a time when the apex court was also hearing the case.

The bench also questioned how the LHC could hear the case when the petitioner was a resident of Islamabad.

In the petition, the ex-president had challenged the verdict and sought suspension of his trial in absentia. Musharraf, in the petition, had pleaded that the treason case against him was filed without following due process of law. He argued, “The case was filed only with the approval of the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif. His cabinet’s approval was never sought.”