Treason case: Prosecutor Akram Sheikh submits reply

ISLAMABAD: The three-member Special Court headed by Justice Faisal Arab and comprising Justice Tahira Safdar and Justice Yawar resumed the hearing into the Federation’s complaint for initiating the treason case against Musharraf on Wednesday.

As the proceedings initiated today, Prosecutor Akram Sheikh submitted his written reply in the court, stating that proofs were found against the former dictator Musharraf only for abrogating the Constitution and declaring the state of emergency in the country on Nov 3, 2007.

Former military dictator Pervez Musharraf’s counsel Barrister Farogh Naseem, on Tuesday, requested the court to also try the associates of his client for assisting him in declaring the state of emergency on November 3, 2007.

Justice Faisal Arab told the defence counsel that the court could not open all the cases of abrogation of the Constitution since 1956, as its mandate was limited to hearing the instant case.

The remarks came when Musharraf’s defence counsel Dr. Farogh Naseem argued that in terms of international jurisprudence, there could be no selective prosecution of Musharraf and quoted Article 12(2) of the Constitution requiring a trial under Article 6 with effect from 23.3.1956.

Dr Naseem said the reference had been made in passing for the purposes of the main case and for the time being for the purpose of arguments on the application seeking the disclosure of FIA report Article 12(2) was not relevant and therefore this question should be kept open.

He also requested the court to take up application (No. 12 of 2014) in which a request had been made for the disclosure and supply of copies of inquiries/investigation report of the FIA, which was the foundational basis of the complaint itself.

He said vide order dated March 7, 2014 the court had clearly held that as and when evidence on material was brought on record that the accused was aided, abetted and collaborated by others, it would decide the issue in that regard.

He said in order to bring such evidence on record, the first step was to require the prosecution to file the FIA report, which clearly contained a dissenting note by one Hussain Asghar that Musharraf alone should not be tried and that his aides and abettors should also be made co-accused.

Prosecutor Akram Sheikh however submitted that the law does not require him to disclose the FIA’s report and therefore he would not disclose the same to the accused unless otherwise directed by the court.

He submitted that the court gave its verdict on March 7 on the trial of others involved in Nov 3 decision according to which if evidences were found against anyone in the records then the court would consider it.

He contended that under Section 5 of the Special Court Act, the federal government was obligated to provide only three documents which included details of the crime, complaint and list of witnesses.

He further said that as the special court was not a high court, it could not apply Section 561 of the military law to this case.

Akram Sheikh contended that the government was not obligated to present the joint investigation report (JIT) and the officer who gave the dissenting note was also a witness.

Akram Sheikh submitted that he would submit his reply overnight in the application and the learned defense counsel could cross-examine him then. Sheikh said that he will continue his arguments today (Wednesday).

Meanwhile, the Special Court ruled that the decision on appointment of prosecutor in the instant case challenged by the defense counsel would be announced on April 18. Dr. Farogh Naseem pointed out that orders on an application pertaining to the disqualification of Akram Shaikh as prosecutor had been reserved for March 26, 2014 and the court observe Shaukat Aziz that before the evidence was to be recorded the application in respect of the prosecutor would be decided.

Justice Faisal Arab however observed that orders on the matter of appointment of prosecutor would be announced on Friday, April 18.