LHC rules in favour of Musharraf, declares special court ‘unconstitutional’

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Shafaqna Pakistan:The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday declared formation of a special court that heard treason case against former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf as ‘unconstitutional’.

The LHC had earlier reserved its verdict in the petition filed by the former military ruler challenging the formation of a special court in a high treason case that had handed him the death penalty in December last year.

The bench, comprising Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti and Justice Chaudhry Masood Jahangi, heard the case.

The court also ruled that the amended Article 6 of the Constitution, under which Musharraf had been found guilty, could not be applied in the case ‘ex post facto’ (retrospectively).

Article 6 of the Constitution was modified through the 18th Amendment in 2010, while the case against Musharraf concerned events that happened before that.

A special court on December 17 had convicted Musharraf for high treason and handed him the death penalty on five counts in a 2-1 split decision. Subsequently, Musharraf had filed tree petitions earlier this month.

Musharraf had challenged not only the conviction, but also the formation of the special court that handed him the death penalty for high treason, as well as the complaint filed against him by the government of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif that resulted in the trial.

However, the court had only admitted the petitions challenging the formation of the special court and the complaint registered against the former president. Subsequently, hearings into the case had proceeded before a three-member bench of the high court in the provincial capital.

The government today presented in court the summary and other records related to the formation of the special court set up to try the former president for high treason. In a hearing last week, the court had asked the government for the records after testimony of a legal expert this regard.

Additional Attorney-General Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan told the court that the constitution of a special court to try Musharraf under Article 6 of the Constitution was not part of the agenda of federal cabinet meetings of the government of former premier Nawaz Sharif.

“The special court was constituted without the formal approval of the cabinet,” Khan said in court. Khan also maintained the charges filed against the former president were flimsy, since under the emergency powers of the executive, fundamental rights could be suspended.

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