The Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Monday sought nomination of five judges – one each from all the provincial High Courts and Islamabad High Court – in response to Secretary Law’s letter to the Registrar of apex court to form a three-member Special Court for the trial of former President and army chief Pervez Musharraf under the High Treason Punishment Act, 1973.
The Secretary Law requested the Registrar, Supreme Court, to nominate three judges of the higher judiciary for the Special Court that could initiate high treason proceedings against Musharraf under Article 6 for allegedly subverting the constitution while imposing Emergency and Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) in the country on November 3, 2007.
A copy of the letter available with Business Recorder states: “The Federal Government has decided to invoke the power vested in it under section 4 of the Criminal Law Amendment (Special Courts) Act, 1976 (Act No XVII of 1996) to establish a special court to try General Pervez Musharraf (Retd) for various offences falling under section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973 (Act LXVIII of 1973).”
It adds: “The law provides that the Special Court shall comprise of three serving judges of High Courts, according to the draft of the letter. It was requested that since there are five High Courts and it would be difficult to nominate three Judges from these five High Courts for the Special Court, therefore, it is submitted that it would be appropriate that the apex court may nominate any three Judges from the High Courts for the Special Court”.
The Law Ministry also requested the Chief Justice that out of three Judges, one may be nominated as the President of the Special Court. The letter further stated that the Special Court would perform its functions in Islamabad. Meanwhile, after the Registrar office of the apex court received the letter from the Law Ministry, the Chief Justice directed that copies of the letter should be circulated amongst Chief Justices of all High Courts viz High Court of Balochistan, high Court of Sindh, Lahore High Court, Peshawar High Court and Islamabad High Court so that they may each nominate a judge of their respective Court, out of which three names shall be forwarded to the Government for the Special Court. The Chief Justice further directed that nominations may reach to the apex court on Tuesday (today).
Pervez Musharraf, a former army chief, would be the first military ruler to be tried for treason in a country that has experienced three military coups in its 66-year history. Legal experts are of the view that Musharraf could face the capital punishment or imprisonment of life if convicted for treason.
Author: Khudayar Mohla
Source: Business Recorder