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High Treason Case: SC gives govt 3 days to decide mechanism

25 June, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has rejected the PML-N government's request to grant it 30 days to arrange independent prosecutors for the treason trial of Pervez Musharraf.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, has instead given the government three days to file its reply through the attorney general of Pakistan to specify the process and mechanism to be put in place to bring those people to justice who are found guilty of high treason.

Justice Jawwad S Khawaja noted that Musharraf had not acted alone when he imposed emergency. He referred to a list of 600 people, which was filed by petitioner Engineer Jamil, who allegedly assisted the former dictator. "Yes, those who aided and abetted the former military dictator for subverting and violating the constitution, they are guilty of high treason and they will be brought to justice," the attorney general conceded before the court.

Responding to the government's stance, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain said that there is no need for a consultative process, as the constitution has been "murdered" in the current case and the government should start the process to try the culprits. He said that the stand of the interim government was better than the incumbent government. However, appreciating the AGP's statement, Justice Jawwad said, "It has some substance and the government has categorically given its position."

"The statement filed by AGP shows concrete progress in the matter." Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan said that under Section 2(b) and 3 the High Treason (Punishment) Act 1973 the sentence and the process to initiate a proceeding of high treason against the persons who have abrogated or subverted the constitution, while creating special court, is defined in Criminal Law (Amended) Special Courts Act 1976.

He said under the SRO 1994 the interior secretary has to lodge a written complaint against Musharraf on behalf of the federation. The court adjourned the hearing until June 27.

Meanwhile, senior lawyers have observed that the purpose of the government's decision is to divert media attention because the PML-N is facing tough time from media these days on issues like bad economy, terrorism.

End.

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