Pervez Musharraf cannot be sentenced to death: Justice Nazar Akbar

Dunya News

Justice Nazar Akbar acquitted Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case.

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Justice Nazar Akbar – a part of the special court’s three-member bench who heard the treason case – wrote a dissenting note acquitting former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in the detailed verdict.

According to 169 pages detaled verdict, Justice Nazar Akbar of Sindh High Court (SHC) acquitted former military ruler Pervez Musharraf of the high treason charges, observing that the prosecution failed to prove the case.

"I have respectfully gone through the proposed judgement authored by my brother Waqas Ahmad Seth J [...] with my humble comprehension of law and justice, I happened to dissent with majority view of my learned brothers," said Justice Akbar in his dissenting note.

READ MORE: Detailed verdict states Musharraf be hanged till death

"In the offence under Article 6 of the Constitution, the charging word is "high treason", therefore, without properly appreciating what does it mean, this court cannot pass a just and fair verdict."

Justice Nazar Akbar remarked that the National Assembly passed its resolution on November 7, 2007 and ratified the implementation of the emergency. “Many parliamentarians, who are lawyers and they were participating in the lawyers movement, even thay had no courage to make any motion in the Parliament,” he said, adding that the Parliament has consciously validated all actions of the accused.

However, Musharraf‘s colleagues with others present at the time of the emergency were not named in the case. He further stated that the Interior Ministry also failed to make a transparent inquiry into the grave treason case.

Justice Nazar Akbar stated in the dissenting note that the Parliament approved the October 1999 emergency as per the ideological requirement. He went on to remark that at that time, Parliament facilitated the offender through the 17th Amendment. Justice Nazar Akbar, referring to the Black’s Law Dictionary to ascertain the meaning of treachery, wrote that "a breach of allegiance to one’s government, usually committed through levying war against such government or by giving aid or comfort to the enemy is called treason."

He further stated that such act cannot be committed by an individual single handedly. “The high command who abetted the general also failed to protect the Constitution,” he expressed, adding that Musharraf’s colleagues took an unconstitutional action while former president was flying. Justice Akbar asserted that every soldier of the Pakistan Army is obliged to follow the country’s constitution.

Justice Nazar remarked that accused Pervez Musharraf cannot be therefore sentenced to death.

Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, the head of the Special Court, and Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court, however, declared Musharraf guilty of high treason and sentenced him to death sentence.

“We direct the Law Enforcement Agencies to strive their level best to apprehend the fugitive/convict and to ensure that the punishment is inflicted as per law and if found dead, his corpse be dragged to the D-Chowk, Islamabad, Pakistan and be hanged for 03 days,” Justice Seth held in the detailed judgment in high treason case against the former military ruler.

READ MORE: DG ISPR terms detailed verdict against humanity and religion

The bench observed that it is the first of its kind case in the country’s history. The court remarked that Musharraf was given maximum chance for fair trial in the case, and held that “those helped him run away from the country must also be brought to justice.” The court directed the registrar office to provide copy of the verdict to the lawyer of Pervez Musharraf.

The special court also held that Musharraf be arrested and underlined that he could not avail right appeal without getting himself surrendered before the law and getting himself arrested.

"The record of the case shall remain with the registrar office," said the judgment. 

Special court sentences Pervez Musharraf to death in high treason case

On Dec 17, special court in Islamabad had sentenced former president and top military official Pervez Musharraf to death in high treason case.

A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court (PHC) Waqar Seth, Justice Nazar Akbar of Sindh High Court (SHC) and Justice Shahid Karim of Lahore High Court (LHC) has announced the verdict that was reserved on December 5.

During the hearing, Justice Seth said that ex-president has been found guilty of violating the Article 6 of the Constitution by clamping the state of emergency on November 3, 2007.

According to the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973, “any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or hold 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 sentence for high treason is death or lifetime imprisonment.

The verdict was split 2-1.

Pervez Musharraf terms special court‘s verdict dubious

Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf termed the special court’s verdict dubious, saying that no precedent can be found for such a decision where neither the accused nor his lawyer were given the fundamental right to defend the case.

In a statement issued by Pervez Musharraf, he expressed: "I heard the special court’s decision on TV, and it was an indefinite verdict which deliberately targeted only one person in the proceedings”.

He said that he greatly respects the Pakistani judiciary, but this is the first time in history that a special court has given such a verdict. “I even offered to record a statement before the special commission, but my statement was ignored and not recorded”, he added.

Pervez Musharraf expressed that he was targeted by officials who hold high positions. He went on to say that the case was heard because of some personal outrage while those judges who benefitted in his tenure are misusing their position against him. “The choice of events according to their intentions shows what these people want,” he asserted , adding that he is grateful to the army and the public for remembering his services.

Treason case: Timeline

The ex-president is facing treason trial under Article 6 of the Constitution as well as Section 2 of the High Treason Act for imposing emergency in the country on November 3, 2007 that also resulted in the suspension of 61 judges of the superior judiciary, including then Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

On November 29, 2007, retired general Pervez Musharraf took oath as a civilian president and lifted the emergency, revoked the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) and restored a Constitution amended on November 15, 2007.

On August 18, 2008, Pervez Musharraf resigned as president after a nine-year rule in the country. On July 22, 2009, Supreme Court had summoned him to defend his action regarding emergence while on July 31, 2009, the apex court had declared Musharraf‘s decision to impose an emergency and PCO as illegal and unconstitutional.

The ex-president refused to respond to the court and departed for United Kingdom after which, his companions launched a political party "All Pakistan Muslim League (APML)" and made him its chairman.

On March 23, 2013, Musharraf returned Pakistan on pre-homecoming protective bail for 10 days to participate in the general elections.

On April 8, 2013, SC had summoned ex-military ruler in the treason case and directed the interior ministry to include his name in the Exit Control List (ECL). On November 18, 2013, then Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry had established special court for the trial of Musharraf. However, on December 12, 2013, the tribunal called him for proceedings of treason case.

On March 30, 2014, the special court had indicted former president but on March 18, 2016, he left for Dubai to “seek medical treatment”. On May 11, 2016, special court had declared Musharraf an absconder as he did not return after getting bail in the treason case.

On June 7, 2018, SC had allowed Musharraf to contest elections on the condition to appear before the court but on August 29, 2018, the special court was told that Interpol had refused to issue red warrants for ex-president’s repatriation from UAE.

On October 8, 2019, special court had decided to hear the case on the daily basis.

On November 19, 2019, the court had concluded the case and reserved the verdict for announcement on November 28 but on November 23, 2019, Musharraf challenged special court‘s move in Lahore High Court while a plea from interior ministry was also filed in Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Chief Justice Athar Manallah stated that there were unique, unusual and unprecedented circumstances in the case.

Moreover, the special court said that it will announce the verdict of high treason case against Pervez Musharraf on December 17.