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Pervez Musharraf verdict: the key points

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 19, 2019 | Last Updated: 8 months ago
Posted: Dec 19, 2019 | Last Updated: 8 months ago
Pervez Musharraf verdict: the key points

The Special Court that sentenced former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf to death for treason issued on Thursday the detailed verdict in the case.

The 169-page verdict was given to Musharraf’s legal team, not the media. However, SAMAA TV was able to obtain a copy of the verdict.

Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court and Sindh High Court’s Justice Nazar Akbar heard the case. Musharraf was convicted by a 2-1 majority. Justice Akbar was the only judge who voted against sentencing him to death.

Here is what he was charged with:

  • He issued on November 3, 2007 the Proclamation of Emergency Order, 2007, which held the Constitution in abeyance. He then committed high treason by subverting the Constitution.
  • On November 3, 2007 he issued the Provisional Constitutional Order No 1 of 2007, which empowered the president to amend the Constitution from time to time and he also suspended the fundamental rights enshrined in articles 9,10, 15, 16, 17, 19 and 25 of the Constitution, subverting it again and committing high treason.
  • On November 3, 2007 he issued the Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2007 whereby an oath was introduced in the Schedule which required a judge to abide by the provisions of the Proclamation of Emergency and Provisional Constitutional Order to perform acts and functions in accordance thereof. This resulted in the removal of numerous judges of the superior courts, including the chief justice. By doing so, he subverted the Constitution and committed high treason.
  • On November 20, 2007, he issued Order 5 of 2007 of the Constitution (Amendment) Order, 2007 where articles 175, 186-A, 198, 218, 270B and 270C were amended and Article 270AA was added. By doing so, he subverted the Constitution and committed high treason.
  • On December 14, 2007, he issued Order 6 and amended the Constitution again, thereby subverting it and committing high treason.

Here are some of the main parts of the verdict.

  • 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
  • The special court said it conducted the trial without Musharraf’s presence under Section 9 of the Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act, 1976. “Section 9 of the Act is couched in such words as to lead to the conclusion that the legislature had visualised the present scenario where the accused is evading due process of law by willfully absenting himself.” It noted that Section 9 commands it to continue the trial and reach its logical ending.
  • By transporting this principle [facts admitted need not be proved] on the evidence on record, it would transpire that the accused has not out rightly negated the acts alleged by the prosecution. He has not denied the imposition of emergency, the proclamation order, prescribing a novel oath for the judges of the superior courts and his speech on the eve he imposed the emergency.
  • Musharraf’s defence was that there were compelling circumstances justifying these acts, such as upsurge in terrorist activities, complete breakdown of governmental machinery because of interference of courts and the poor state of economy and that it was not a voluntary act. He said he was advised to do so by the cabinet, the prime minister and the key leads of state institutions.
  • The judges believe Musharraf’s defence was inspired by a solitary portion of the self-acclaimed saying of US president Abraham Lincoln. He referred to this in his speech justifying the imposition of emergency:

“…as an idealist of Abraham Lincoln had one consuming passion. During the time of supreme crisis and this was to preserve the union because the union was in danger toward that end he broke laws, he violated the constitution, he usurped arbitrary power, he tripled individual liberties. His justification was necessity…”

  • But the court said his inspiration was “ignorantly selective” and disregarded a more important saying of Lincoln, which was:

“Don’t interfere with anything in the constitution that must be maintained for. It is the only safeguard of our liberties.”

  • In our country, during 72 years of its independence, to our misfortune several times, the constitutions framed by legislative bodies were desecrated. Sovereignty of the people was not allowed to flourish and get deep-rooted in the polity of our country.
  • Listing the times the country was taken over by the military, the court said: Had the honourable superior judiciary, at that time, not introduced the Doctrine of Necessity and had proceeded against the usurpers, abrogaters, subverters, the nation would not have seen this day at least, where an officer in uniform repeats this offence
  • The accused has confessed the officers/officials qua his accomplice yet the same have not been arrayed as co-accused by the complainant, for reasons best known. Even otherwise, it is unbelievable and unimaginable that such an extreme act is committed alone by a single man in uniform. The then Corps Commanders Committee in addition to all other uniformed officers who were guarding him each and every time, with boots on, are equally and fully involved in the act and deeds of the accused person.
  • The federal government/complainant is not absolved of not investigating these officers and filing a complaint against them.
  • Each and every member of the armed forces, as per their oath under the 3rd schedule to the Constitution in pursuance to Article 244 is bound to bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan and uphold the Constitution, which embodies the will of the people. They have also sworn not to engage themselves in any political activities whatsoever. Every member of the armed forces have, also solemnly affirmed that he will honestly and faithfully serve Pakistan, as required by and under the law and in this respect, the oath has been violated by each and every member of the higher command in the armed forces by failing to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
  • This court after presentation of undeniable, irrefutable and unimpeachable evidence by the prosecution against the accused reaches to the conclusion that indeed accused is guilty and deserves exemplary punishment.
  • We are of the considered view that the accused in this high treason case has been afforded more than his due share of fair trial.
  • It would be in the interest of justice that all those involved (if any) in facilitation of the escape of the fugitive accused may also be brought in the net of due course of law and their criminal acts (if any) may be investigated and tried in accordance with law.  

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