–PHC CJ Waqar Seth orders to ‘drag ex-president’s corpse to D-Chowk and hang it there for 3 days’ if he’s found dead before arrest
–Verdict states Musharraf’s accomplices who supported him throughout must share responsibility for his deeds
–Urges investigation against those involved in helping military ruler escape from country in 2016
ISLAMABAD: The special court released its detailed verdict in the high treason case against General (r) Pervez Musharraf on Thursday, wherein it was stated that the former president must be arrested and hanged to death and if he dies before the sentence is executed, his body must be dragged to D Chowk of the federal capital and hanged for three days.
Musharraf was tried in absentia for high treason handed a death sentence under Article-6 of the Constitution two days ago. The verdict was split 2-1, with Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court agreeing with Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Nazar Akbar of the Sindh High Court dissenting.
The 169-page detailed judgement authored by Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth stated, “A dictator stays in power only as long as he manages to subvert the will of his people. The usurpation of the functions of government and other organs of State established by the Constitution tantamount to subversion of the Constitution. Exercise of undue influence over judiciary (such as making them cease office and/or take fresh extra-constitutional oath) do tantamount to subversion of the Constitution.
The verdict stated that “as a necessary corollary to what has been observed we find the accused guilty as per charge. The convict be therefore hanged by his neck till he dies on each count as per charge”.
“We direct the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) to strive their level best to apprehend the fugitive/convict 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,” read the detailed verdict.
Justice Seth, along with Justice Karim, said that the evidence presented had proved that Musharraf committed a crime. Justice Karim concurred with the findings and punishment, with the exception of paragraph 66 which mentions “dragging the body to D-Chowk”. “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,” said Justice Karim.
“Indeed, this portion of the judgement and execution of the sentence is nowhere defined but since it is first impression case and the sentence of death is announced in his absence after declaring the convict as proclaimed offender therefore the sentence is supposed to be executed and in case of his death a sentence, to this extent para 65 prescribes the mode of execution.”
The verdict also stated that Musharraf had “persistently and stubbornly” tried to delay the trial. “The accused facing trial… has persistently and stubbornly strived ever since the commencement of this trial, to delay, retract and in fact evade it. It has been his plea throughout that either on account of ill health or for security hazards he could not reach up to this Court to face trial,” added the judgement.
The judgement also stated that the military officers who were guarding the accused were also accomplices in his deeds. “If for a moment it is presumed that military high command including Corps Commanders were not involved then why they failed to defend and protect the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 by not restraining a man in uniform […] the then Corps Commanders Committee in addition to all other uniformed officers who were guarding him each and every time, with boots on, are equally and fully involved in the act and deeds of the accused person,” the verdict read.
“The trial of high treason is the requirement of the Constitution against those individuals who undermine or attempt to undermine the Constitution by any means. This court after presentation of undeniable, irrefutable and unimpeachable evidence by the prosecution against the accused reaches to the conclusion that indeed the accused is guilty and deserves exemplary punishment. As a necessary corollary to what has been observed we find the accused guilty as per charge. The convict be hanged by his neck till he dies on each count as per charge,” the verdict added.
The verdict also called for investigation into the ‘criminal acts’ of those who facilitated Musharraf’s escape from the country. “It would be in the interest of justice that all those involved (if any) in facilitation of the escape of the fugitive accused may also be brought in the net of due course of law and their criminal acts (if any) may be investigated and tried in accordance with law,” it read.
JUSTICE AKBAR DISSENTS:
Justice Akbar dissented with the opinion of the other judges. He pointed out that the definition of high treason was updated after passage of the 18th constitutional amendment in 2010, which he said was not intended to be applied retrospectively.
“I have respectfully gone through the proposed judgement authored by my brother Waqas Ahmad Seth J […] with my humble comprehension of law and justice, I happened to dissent with majority view of my learned brothers,” he said.
He was of the view that Musharraf’s actions of imposing emergency on November 3, 2007, could not be seen as “attracting provisions of Article 6 of the Constitution” on the said date. “[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 offence under Article 6 of the Constitution. Only the act of ‘abrogation’ and ‘subversion’ of Constitution was considered as an act of high treason,” he noted.
“In the offence under Article 6 of the Constitution, the charging word is ‘high treason’, therefore, without properly appreciating what does it mean, this court cannot pass a just and fair verdict. But for this reason, both the learned counsel for the prosecution and my learned brothers have referred to the definition of ‘high treason’ by relying on the meaning of ‘high treason’ given in the Oxford Dictionary (Tenth Edition),” he added.
It is worth mentioning here that the words ‘suspension’ and ‘abeyance’ were not used in the language of Article 6 of the Constitution until April 20, 2010, when they were introduced through the 18th Amendment — almost after two and a half years of Musharraf imposing emergency.
The judgement further ordered to keep the record inclusive of the case properties under lock and key with the registrar of the court till further orders.
The special court’s verdict marks the first time in Pakistan’s history that a military chief has been declared guilty of high treason and handed a death sentence.
Following the verdict, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had termed the trial against Musharraf “unfair”. Addressing a late-night joint press conference the same day, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan had said that he “will defend the law in the case but not any individual”.
The armed forces stood by Musharraf. Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor, in a statement, had said that the “decision given by special court has been received with [a] lot of pain and anguish by rank and file of Pakistan Armed Forces”.
“An ex-Army Chief, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee and President of Pakistan, who has served the country for over 40 years, fought wars for the defense of the country can surely never be a traitor,” he had said. “The due legal process seems to have been ignored including [the] constitution of [the] special court, denial of [the] fundamental right of self defence, undertaking individual specific proceedings and concluding the case in haste,” he had added.
He had further said, “Armed Forces of Pakistan expect that justice will be dispensed in line with Constitution of [the] Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”
The former military chief is currently in Dubai. He was admitted to a hospital following the deterioration of his health earlier this month. In a video statement from his hospital bed, he called the treason case “absolutely baseless” and rooted in “personal vendetta”.
READ THE DETAILED VERDICT HERE: