Musharraf’s treason trial set to resume

August 04, 2014 - 12:48:36 am

ISLAMABAD: A special bench in Pakistan led by Justice Faisal Arab will resume proceedings in the treason trial against former army chief Pervez Musharraf tomorrow after a gap of several weeks.

The Pakistan Muslim League-N government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is facing tough challenges in pursuing the case against the former military ruler. When the trial began in December 2013 under Article 6 of the constitution, the defence team raised objections over the use of allegedly faulty investigation practices and requested the court to drop treason charges against Musharraf.

Musharraf’s defence, led by Farogh Nasim, has billed the case a kind of discrimination against an individual who is being targeted because of personal vendetta.

Nasim said the attorney general, the country’s highest legal officer, had asked Sharif to constitute an oversight body to ensure transparency in the investigation. However, no such panel had been created. This was a clear deviation from the apex court’s decision, he said.

Khalid Rasool, deputy director of the Federal Investigation Agency, who is a prosecution witness, has said that a recording of Musharraf’s November 3, 2007 address to the nation has been obtained from state-managed channel PTV alongside other pertinent documents from the defence ministry, the cabinet division and printing corporations. He added that the material had been handed over to the chief of the FIA investigation team, Khalid Qureshi.

A prominent witness in the case, the deputy solicitor of the law ministry, Taj Umer, has already testified. He presented 19 documents in court, including affidavits of new judges and evidence documenting orders to impose emergency rule on December 14, 2007. He also issued orders to prevent all judges -- including former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, from working.

The former military ruler cannot leave the country after a five-judge bench of the apex court turned down his plea to overturn the Sindh High Court’s June 12 verdict to remove his name from the Exit Control List after the Eid vacations.

Musharraf had filed an application through his advocate on record, Ahmad Nawaz, to expedite the court’s decision in the matter. 

“There is grave urgency in the matter since Musharraf’s mother is very ill and the petitioner is also in dire need of medical treatment which is not available in Pakistan,” the application said.

The case will now be heard in September.