LHC admits Tarar’s petition against Musharraf

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LAHORE – The Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry admitted for regular hearing a petition seeking court’s orders to remove all references made to Pervez Musharraf describing him as president of Pakistan in public or official record. The petition was filed by former president Muhammad Rafiq Tarar submitting he be given pension as former president by declaring Pervez Musharraf as unlawful in the list of former presidents.
Earlier, the LHC judicial registrar put objections on the petition regarding jurisdiction of the LHC for hearing the matter. Abid Hassan Minto, the petitioner counsel, submitted that the LHC and the Islamabad High Court had concurrent jurisdiction in the matter, therefore, the LHC could hear the matter.
The CJ agreeing to the arguments overruled the objection and directed the court office to do the needful.Tarar submitted that he joined office on January 1, 1998 and at that time salary of the president was Rs 23,000 and pension Rs 10,000. He said, in October 1999, the elected government was toppled but he continued to hold the office of president. He submitted that in May 2001, the cabinet division moved a summary to the then Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf purposing that salary and pension of the president should be higher than the salaries of all other state functionaries.
He submitted that in pursuance of the summary two bills were submitted to the petitioner with advice from the Chief Executive. However, the petitioner declined to sign the bills on certain apprehension, he said. He said that after his expulsion, another summary was moved through which the president was entitled to receive Rs 57,000 monthly salary and 85 percent of salary as pension and the same was approved. He submitted that unfortunately the principle of keeping the salary and pension of the president higher than other state functionaries could not be continued as salaries of the CJP and other judges had increased. He submitted that the anomaly was against constitutional intents as the pension he draws was Rs 48,450 whereas the pension of the retired chief justice during 1991-1994 was Rs 476,325.
Citing the Supreme Court decision on a plea by the Sindh High Court Bar Association, he contended that the petitioner continued as president till September 8, 2008, when Asif Ali Zardari assumed office of president.
He contended that promulgation of emergency on October 14, 1999, had been declared to have no legal effect as per the 18th amendment bill which amended Article 270AA. So the Order 2 and 3 of 2001, for his expulsion, also have no legal effect, he added. He prayed the court to declare that the petitioner never resigned from the office and continued as president till the oath of Asif Ali Zardari as president.
The petitioner prayed the court to pass directions to remove all references made to Pervez Musharraf in public and official records showing him as president. He prayed the court to declare that the petitioner was entitled to receive salary from December 1, 2001, to September 8, 2009, at 132.5 percent of salary payable to the chief justice and arrears of the period should be given to welfare organisations. He prayed the court to declare that the petitioner was entitled to receive pension from September 9, 2008, at 85 percent of the salary.