Decision in Musharraf treason case win-win for all sides?

Source: Published in Justice on Wednesday, November 11, 2015

ISLAMABAD: It may be a ‘win-win’ situation for all the stakeholders in the high treason case viz-a-viz the complainant, the main accused and the co-accused, as the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has asked the federal government to reinvestigate the case.

The IHC also set aside the special court order passed on Nov 21, 2014, asking the federal government to include former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, former chief justice of Pakistan Abdul Hameed Dogar and ex-federal minister Zahid Hamid as abettors of Pervez Musharraf in the case.

All the parties – the three ‘co-accused’, the main accused Gen Musharraf as well as the complainant, the federal government, – were not happy with the judgment for different reasons.

Gen Musharraf wanted to drag more abettors into the treason case as he filed an application with the special court seized with the high treason case, saying he imposed the Nov 3, 2007, emergency after consulting the civilian and military leadership, including the then services chiefs, corps commanders.

The three co-accused were ‘aggrieved’ of the special court order for including them in the case. They also wanted certain observations passed against them expunged.

Special court order reopens investigation, charges levelled by JIT said to be unaffected by fresh ruling

The federal government was also unhappy as the special court not only raised questions on the transparency of the treason case investigation but also used the word “selective investigation” in its Nov 21 judgment.

The matter, however, was solved ‘amicably’ and with the mutual consent of all the parties as the IHC quoting the federal government proposal for settlement of the matter decided the case. The government in May this year had expressed the willingness to probe the “role of any person as aider or abettor” in the treason case.

The court order stated: “On receiving of such statement (of the federal government) all the learned counsel appearing by either parties shown their willingness for investigation of the case at large.”

The order added: “Mr. Farogh Nasim (counsel of Gen Musharraf) at this stage stated that in case observations made by the court are expunged, then there would be nothing against them and they might take undue advantage thereof during the investigation.”

Subsequently, the court observed that “all the accused or prosecution witnesses were supposed to be examined as required by law and their viewpoint be also recorded. Also they be allowed to place material in their defence during investigation.”

Additional Attorney General Afnan Karim Kundi, who represented the federal government, told Dawn that the court order was clear and the investigation agency would probe the role of (any) aider and abettor who allegedly facilitated the imposition of the emergency.

A senior law officer of the federal government on the condition of anonymity said though the order had seemingly reopened the investigation, the complaint of the federal government against Gen Musharraf based on the earlier investigation report by JIT remained pending and not affected in any manner.

That’s why, he added, the IHC had left it to the special court seized with the high treason trial to fix the period of “reinvestigation” acknowledging that the complaint remained pending before the special court.

Advocate Faisal Hussain, a counsel for Gen Musharraf, on the other hand, said the special court may not proceed against his client as the IHC had declared the investigation conducted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) as ‘flawed’.

Though the special court is likely to take up the treason case on November 27, Mr Hussain was of the view that the court may not proceed as the investigation was still inconclusive and the IHC did not pass any order for the recommencement of the stalled trial of Gen Musharraf.

Earlier, former PML-N federal minister Zahid Hamid told Dawn that he was not against the reinvestigation in the treason case but had certain reservations over the special court’s observations passed against him in the Nov 21 order.

If the observations are not set aside, the investigation officer would take them as a guideline hence the reinvestigation would not be independent and transparent, he added.

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