The federal government has decided to approach Supreme Judicial Council against Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth for his 'unprecedented, despicable, and the most ridiculous observation' in the detailed judgment in high treason case against former president General Pervez Musharraf (retd), and also to go into appeal against the judgment.
"With due respect, it is an unprecedented, despicable and the most ridiculous observation," said Law Minister Farogh Naseem while addressing a news conference along with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shehzad Akbar and Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan, following a detailed conversation between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on the detailed judgment of the Special Court.
The law minister expressed serious concerns of the federal government over the observations given buy Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth in paragraph 66 of the detailed judgment, "We direct the law enforcement agencies to strive their level best to apprehend the fugitive/convict and to ensure that the punishment is inflicted as per law and if found dead, his corpse be dragged to the D-Chowk, Islamabad, Pakistan, and be hanged for 03 days."
"On the grounds of observations of Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, the federal government has decided that the government will approach Supreme Judicial Council with a request that such a judge has no authority to serve as judge in Pakistan's Supreme Court or any high court. He is unfit...Through such observations not only the sanctity of the judiciary is harmed, but it is also a testing time for administration of the justice," he announced.
He continued saying: "Our request is that, because, he has proved that he is 'mentally unfit' and 'incompetent' so he should immediately be stopped from working. We also request the senior judges in the apex court that he should be restrained from any administrative or judicial duty. If any judge who passes such kind of observations, it is not only against the law and the constitution, but it is also counterproductive for the confidence in the judiciary. Very soon we are moving against him under Article 209 in the Supreme Judicial Council."
The law minister said the Article 209 has two aspects of misconduct, either there is incompetence or the mental capacity is in question. He added that during Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry it was decided that 'incompetence' will be the ground for the implementation of the Article 209.
To a question, he said that paragraph 66 of the detailed judgment is very important. "I am unable to understand as to what authority allows the judge to make such kind of observations," he asked. He also referred to a previous judgment of the Supreme Court authored by Justice Naseem Hassan Shah about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Islam who stated that public hanging is against the Constitution and Islam.
He said that in the High Treason Act, 1973 or Criminal (Amendment) Special Court Act, 1976, there is no provision or possibility of public hanging and nothing authorizes any judge to give such observations.
"This is an attempt to take Pakistan to the dark ages. His [Justice Seth's] 'mental capacity' is lacking there is a general principle that cases of incompetence and mental capacity are brought before the Supreme Judicial Council," he added.
Shehzad Akbar in his comments said that all the country's laws and international humanitarian laws have been 'ruined' through the observations, adding that there was no precedent available across the world.
He said paragraph 66 in the detailed judgment is against the Constitution, Shariah law and also international humanitarian law. He said there are two dissenting notes on paragraph 66.
He said the federal government has objection over conduct of the trial and it will go into appeal against the judgment.
"It is an issue of serious concern. Para 66 of the judgment brought disgrace for Pakistan in the entire world. We also had other serious concerns. We wanted to include other people too. The federal government will go in the review," he said, adding, "This is a suicide attack on the institutions." He said that paragraph 66 is a source of concern not only for the federal government but also for the whole nation.
Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the government of Pakistan and the armed forces of the country will defeat "all the designs with the power of the people."
When asked as to what will be the fate of the Special Court verdict if one judge is declared 'unfit' by the Supreme Judicial Council on the government's proposed plan, Awan said: "If a judge is declared unfit [by Supreme Judicial Council], the judgment remains [null and] void." Reuters adds: The special court directed law enforcers to apprehend Musharraf, currently receiving medical treatment in Dubai, to ensure the death sentence is carried out.
But if found dead beforehand, "his corpse (should) be dragged to D-Chowk, Islamabad, Pakistan, and be hanged for three days", it said.
The chowk, or square, is just outside parliament.
Thursday's bizarre announcement came after the government said it had found "gaps and weaknesses" in the original sentence, apparently taking sides in a split between the military and the judiciary, and the general's lawyers said Musharraf planned to appeal.
Legal experts termed the instructions unconstitutional, even if symbolic.
Law Minister Farogh Naseem said the government was seeking to remove the leader of the three-judge panel. The judge, Waqar Ahmad Seth, had violated judicial conduct, he said.
"Our plea is that such a judge has got no authority to be a judge of any high court or the supreme court," he said. "He is unfit." The original sentence had already shocked the military, which has ruled Pakistan for about half the country's history. The army accused the court of ignoring legal processes and defended Musharraf's patriotism.
Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan has said Musharraf wasn't given a fair trial, taking the army line.
Tensions between the military and the judiciary rose after the Supreme Court struck down a three-year extension of service given by the government to army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Musharraf, who was tried and sentenced in absentia, said in Dubai the charges against him were politically motivated.