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Justice Siddiqui distances self from bench

17 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui distanced himself from the division bench of the Islamabad High Court hearing the intra court appeal of former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf when the latter's counsel Ahmad Raza Kasuri raised an objection on the the judiciary and judges.

Forwarding arguments in the intra court appeal (ICA) of Gen (R) Pervez Musharraf against the constitution of a special court for his trial under Article 6, Ahmad Raza Kasuri advocate contended that the judiciary had bias against his client.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui replied: "The same judiciary gave relief to Gen Musharraf and accepted his bail applications in judges' detention case and I also dismissed an application of the Shuhda Foundation of Pakistan Trust whereby it was sought to stop Musharraf from proceeding abroad."

Justices Siddiqui and Noorul Haq N Qureshi form the division bench hearing the ICA. Justice Siddiqui further said that they would distance themselves from the bench if the petitioner did not have trust in this court. The IHC division bench then referred the matter to the court of IHC chief justice. At this juncture, Justice Siddiqui said that they were answerable only to Allah.

Former President Gen (R) Pervez Musharraf filed the ICA before the IHC on December 31 challenging constitution of the special court for his trial.

Before that an IHC single bench comprising Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan on December 23, 2013 dismissed three petitions of Gen Musharraf where he had challenged his trial by a special court instead of a military court, constitution of the special court and appointment of prosecutor in his matter.

Justice Khan, dismissing the petitions, had observed, "The contention of legal counsel for Pervez Musharraf is not correct for the reason that the petitioner is being tried for the offence committed under Article 6 of the Constitution. Since the constitution has overriding effect over all the other laws including the Pakistan Army Act, therefore the prayer of the petitioner be tried under the Army Act is not correct."

In his ICA, Musharraf pleaded: "Of recent, General Khalid Gul Khan, General Muzaffar Afzal and General Khalid Zaheer held offices of director general NLC. On being found involved in misappropriation, they were sought to be tried by National Accountability Bureau (NAB). They stood retired but the army intervened and restored their ranks even so as to bring them before the court martial."

Musharraf said that the army did not let its officers be tried by the NAB as they had committed the offences at the time when they were on the roll of the army. Federal government at the request of army then referred the matter to army and these generals are now under trial by the field general court martial (FGCM).

In his ICA, Musharraf said that the special court constituted for his trial lacks jurisdiction. He prayed to the court to refer his matter to the military court for trial. He said that fair trial is his fundamental right and he should be treated like the under trial army generals in NLC scam.

He adopted that the prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had personal grudges against him and they played active role in the establishment of special court and appointment of three members bench comprising Justice Faisal Arab of Sindh High Court (SHC), Justice Tahira Safdar of Balochistan High Court (BHC) and Justice Yawar Ali of Lahore High Court (LHC).

Meanwhile Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan of the IHC also dismissed Musharraf's application that he filed against an order of the special court dated January 10, directing him to personally appear. IHC Justice Khan dismissed the petition, while declaring it non-maintainable.


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