Islamabad High Court decision follows government claiming the verdict would be in violation of the Constitution
The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday issued verbal orders directing a special court to not announce its judgment in the high treason case against former Army chief Gen. (retd.) Pervez Musharraf.
A special court hearing the case against the former military dictator had on Nov. 19 concluded trial proceedings over Musharraf declaring a state of emergency on Nov. 3, 2007. In its final hearing, the court had said it would deliver a verdict on Nov. 28 (Thursday) on the basis of the available record following the government’s dismissal of the entire prosecution team a month earlier.
In Wednesday’s proceedings, the IHC asked why the Interior Ministry had sought to block the verdict by claiming the formation of the special court was incorrect. Justice Athar Minallah said the record showed the special court had been formed correctly. To this, the additional attorney general claimed the state’s problem was with the prosecution team that presented the final arguments, claiming it had been illegal.
“You made a mistake and you will fix it. What should we do?” asked Justice Farooq, adding this information should have been placed before the special court hearing the case. “Now that the verdict is about to be announced, you’ve come here.” The court then announced the deferral, adding that it would also issue a written order to that effect. It said the federal government now had until Dec. 5 to name a new prosecution team to conclude the case.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government had, on Monday, sought a delay in the announcement of the verdict in the high treason case against Musharraf at the Islamabad High Court. The petition, which is nearly identical to a petition filed by the former president’s lawyer at the Lahore High Court, claimed the special court’s announcement of a verdict was against the Constitution, as it was given without allowing the ministry a chance to notify a new prosecution team.