A three-judge special court formed by Pakistan’s Supreme Court is set to resume hearing of a high treason case against former military ruler and dictator Pervez Musharraf next week. The trial may also be a big test for Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which is likely to form a government, a media report said on Sunday.
Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Yawar Ali, who heads the special court, will visit Islamabad for three days from July 31 to August 2.
“We are also hearing that the case is fixed next week, a member of Musharraf legal team also informed about the development, “a media report said.
Pakistan-based daily English language newspaper ‘The Express Tribune’ reported that the purpose of the LHC Chief Justice’s visit is to hear the high treason case lodged against the former president soon after the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) came to power in 2013 for his role in the promulgation of emergency on November 3, 2007.
However, the prosecution team has yet to get any intimidation regarding hearing of the case.
The high treason case was planned to restarted earlier this month but the schedule was cancelled because of the LHC top judge’s foreign trip.
The special court formed by the Pakistan Supreme Court on request of the former PML-N led government had to be reconstituted as its former head and Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Yahya Afridi recused himself from hearing the case on 29 March.
Now, it is to be seen whether the upcoming PTI government will pursue the treason case or keep Akram Sheikh, who was appointed as the prosecutor by the PML-N's government.
The daily said Sheikh, who is regarded as being close to the PML-N, may himself withdraw from the case.
The legal experts believe that the treason case is a test for the new government as one of the reasons of civil-military tussle was that the PML-N government had initiated the case against the former army chief.
The PTI chief had vowed in November 2007 that his party would initiate proceedings against Musharraf over his unconstitutional acts but it has also been witnessed that the PTI has remained silent over the issue in the recent past.
Most close aides of Musharraf have also joined the PTI. Interestingly, a key member of Musharraf's party, Amjad also withdrew his nomination papers in favour of Imran Khan in NA-53.
It is also being observed as to how much the superior judiciary is interested to conclude the trial.
Experts say the superior judiciary is still unable to end misperception that it leans towards the establishment. Since the disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N has been propagating that the judiciary is part of a game plan.
On April 7, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar proposed a fresh composition of the three-judge special bench, nominating Justice Yawar Ali as its head, but the federal government led by the PML-N did not issue a formal notification during its tenure.
Later, the caretaker government issued a notification regarding the composition of the special bench, which also comprises Sindh High Court judge Nazar Akbar and Balochistan High Court judge Tahira Safdar.
Justice Yawar Ali is set to retire on October 22 this year. It will be interesting whether the trial will be concluded before his retirement.
Recently, the apex court summoned Musharraf in a matter regarding his disqualification but he did not show up.
Musharraf, 74, who has been residing in Dubai since March 2016 after leaving the county on medical grounds.
(With inputs from agencies)