In what appears to be his visibly softened stance, Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari ruled out the possibility of clash of institutions in the aftermath of Special Court's judgement against former president General Pervez Musharraf (retd), saying the controversial observations made by a judge in the verdict have no 'operational' view.
"God willing, there will be no clash of institutions. I am not seeing that happening," he told the media on Friday.
"Paragraph 66 is not the operational paragraph of the judgment. It is not even the formal part of the judgment. It has no operational value. This paragraph is based on the suggestions of the judge," he said.
The government and Musharraf can exhaust legal options and move higher judicial forums against the judgment, Bilawal said.
Earlier on Thursday, the announcement of detailed judgement in the Musharraf high treason trial by the Special Court created ripples across Pakistan's political and public circles. The Special Court found Musharraf guilty of high treason and awarded him death sentence with 2:1 split verdict.
"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," wrote Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, the Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court who was also the President of the Special Court, in paragraph 66 of the verdict.
Another judge of Special Court, Justice Shahid Karim from Lahore High Court also supported death sentence for Musharraf but opposed the paragraph 66.
"I dissent with the President [...] it has no basis in law and will be ultra vires for this court to do so. In my opinion, it is enough to sentence the accused to death," he wrote.
The Special Court's member Justice Nazar Akbar from Sindh High Court disagreed with other two judges and opposed death sentence to Musharraf. In his dissenting note, the judge wrote, "(Counsel) has failed to appreciate that on the date of offence, except 'abrogate' and 'subvert', no other act of any person was considered as an office under Article 6 of the Constitution. Only the act of 'abrogation' and 'subversion' of Constitution was considered as an act of high treason. The words 'suspension' and 'abeyance' were not used in the language of Article 6 of the Constitution until 20.4.2010 when (they) were introduced through the 18th Amendment almost after two and a half years to the date of alleged offence of high treason."
The federal government has announced to move Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for the removal of Justice Seth. "Keeping in view Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth's observations, the federal government has decided to approach the Supreme Judicial Council and file a request stating that such a judge has no authority to be a judge of a high court or the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He is unfit to be a judge. When such observations are given, not only the court's privilege is hurt, but it also becomes a test for the administration of justice. Our request is, because he has proven himself to be mentally unfit and incompetent, he must immediately be prevented from working. We request the Supreme Court judges to restrain him from any administrative or judicial work," Law Minister Farogh Naseem told a press conference earlier on Thursday.