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Plea to suspend Musharraf’s summons rejected
Publication Date : 11-01-2014
An attempt by former president retired General Pervez Musharraf to avoid his possible indictment on January 16 came to naught on Friday when the special court seized with his treason trial dismissed an application seeking suspension of his summons.
“This court has no jurisdiction to modify, alter or change its orders, except correcting the clerical mistakes,” observed the three-judge court, headed by Justice Faisal Arab of the Sindh High Court.
The court had summoned Gen Musharraf on Jan 16 for handing him over a charge-sheet for high treason.
The court also rejected the defence counsel’s stance that the criminal procedure code (CrPC) did not apply to the treason trial. “The CrPC has an overriding effect on the special laws and, therefore, its applicability in the instant matter can be invoked,” it observed.
On Friday, Anwar Mansoor Khan, counsel for Gen Musharraf, filed an application saying that his client has utmost regard of the court, but challenged the legality of the notification about establishment of the special court.
He claimed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had not issued the notification in accordance with the set procedure. He said that under Article 90 of the Constitution, such notification could only be issued by the federal government comprising the president, the prime minister and the federal cabinet.
“Subject to the Constitution, the executive authority of the federation shall be exercised in the name of the president by the federal government consisting of the prime minister and the federal ministers, which shall act through the prime minister who shall be the chief executive of the federation,” the counsel argued.
He pointed out that the defence side had filed three different applications against the jurisdiction of the special court and under the judicial norms the court had to first decide the issue of jurisdiction and then summon Gen Musharraf.
Mohammad Akram Sheikh, head of the prosecution team, opposed the application and said the Islamabad High Court had already dismissed the petitions seeking the same relief.
He contended that the defence counsel cited Article 90 but did not refer to its section 2 which states that “in the performance of his functions under the constitution, the prime minister may act either directly or through the federal ministers”.
The federal government had issued the notification in accordance with the constitutional requirements, he said, adding that the special court under the provisions of the law could not revisit or alter its own orders and, therefore, the process of issuing summons to the former president could not be halted.
Defence counsel Mansoor Khan said he did not request the court to revisit its order but only called for staying its order issued on Thursday.
At this Advocate Sheikh said in a lighter tone that the counsel wanted “holding the order in abeyance”.
It may be mentioned that Gen Musharraf is also facing treason charges for holding the Constitution in abeyance.
Justice Arab observed that the court was conscious of the importance of the case as it was the first of its kind in the country’s history where a person who once allowed amending the Constitution was facing charges for suspending it.
The judge expressed annoyance over misreporting by some newspapers and said they had published stories contrary to the orders issued by the court.
The court adjourned the treason case to January 16, the date when it is likely to indict Gen Musharraf.