Special Court verdict Musharraf's challenge hits holiday snag.


Byline: Shahzad Ahmad

LAHORE -- The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday returned an application of former president Pervez Musharraf for suspending operation of the special court's judgment, after putting objection that it could not be entertained during the winter vacation.

The LHC registrar office directed for filing the application after winter vacation, which would conclude on January 8, 2020.

Earlier, Pervez Musharraf moved LHC against the verdict passed by the Islamabad-based Special Court in a high treason case filed against him for suspending the constitution on November 3, 2007.

A civil miscellaneous application, consisting of 86 pages, was filed by Advocate Azhar Siddique on behalf of the former president, citing the federal government and others as respondents, and challenging the Special Court's verdict, in which death sentence was awarded to Musharraf under Article 6 of the constitution after finding him guilty of high treason.

The petition says that the 'judgment contained a mix of anomalies and contradictory statements', and that the trial court 'rapidly and hurriedly wrapped up the trial which was far from conclusion'.

It further says that the special court 'announced an award of capital punishment to the applicant without examining the accused under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code (power to examine the accused). The importance of examining the accused in a criminal trial is enormous and any lapse, failure or omission to fulfill this requirement adversely affects the prosecution case. A criminal trial cannot simply [be] complete without adhering to this mandatory legal requirement.'

The special court 'has not taken into consideration that no actions detrimental to national interest were taken by the applicant' as 'no offence of high treason is made out from the evidence presented against him [Musharraf] before the special court', it highlights.

The special court verdict's graphic paragraph 66 reads: 'We direct the law enforcement agencies to strive their level best to apprehend the fugitive/convict [Pervez Musharraf] and to ensure...

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