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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court disposed of an appeal against setting aside of sentence awarded to former army chief under the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973, by a Special Court.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan and comprising Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Justice Shahid Waheed, on Tuesday, disposed of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA)’s appeal for being infructuous.

Justice Ijaz said the petition has become ineffective. Upon that, the LHCBA’s lawyer Taufiq Asif said if the case is fixed after six years then it will become ineffective, adding a day ago (Monday) in Full Court reference concerns were expressed for not fixing the case in time.

Justice Jamal said they would convey his concern to the relevant authority.

A three-judge bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) comprising Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, and Justice Chaudhry Masood Jahangir, in January 2020, had quashed the verdict given by the special court in the Musharraf high treason case and declared the formation of the bench as "unconstitutional".

The LHC ruled that the steps were taken in violation of the Constitution, law and principles of the criminal justice system laid down by the superior courts.

The LHC ruling stated that constitutional parameters were not fulfilled in deciding the high treason case. It added that trial in absentia is a violation of Article 10-A which guarantees the right to a fair trial to the accused.

The detailed verdict stated that the case against the former president was neither prepared nor filed in accordance with the law. It stated that the cabinet approval to initiate the charges and filing of a case, which is mandatory, was not sought.

The verdict mentioned that amended Article-6 of the Constitution under which Musharraf was found guilty of suspending the Constitution, could not be applied in the said case.

The special court on December 17, 2019, sentenced Pervez Musharraf to death in the high treason case. Justice Nazar Akbar had opposed the verdict of sentencing him to death and cleared him of the accusations while Justice Waqar Seth and Justice Shahid Karim handed him the death penalty.

The court had observed that the facts of this case were well documented and clearly demonstrate the guilt on the part of the accused.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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