ISLAMABAD - Rebutting the claim of Pervez Musharraf’s legal team, the prosecution on Wednesday said as per the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) probe report, the high treason trial could only be held against the former dictator.
Akram Sheikh, in reply to the application of the 70-year-old ex-commando, argued that neither any summary was sent by the Prime Minister’s House for imposing emergency nor had the government any knowledge as to who had advised the former president and the chief of army staff to take November 3, 2007, action, adding the retired general could himself tell anything about it.
“Mere reference to the office holders in the proclamation of emergency cannot be a conclusive proof of their complicity,” the prosecutor said. “The emergency order bears the signatures of Musharraf, so it is his responsibility to provide the proclamation order as well as those documents which have been mentioned in the 3rd November emergency,” he added.
In the written reply, Akram Sheikh submitted that the federal government was under a legal and moral obligation to safeguard the interests of all the citizens and nobody should be tried without sufficient incriminating material. “Every caution has to be applied before naming anybody as an accused, especially in a case entailing capital punishment.”
The learned counsel opposed delivery of the FIA investigation report to the accused (Musharraf). Justice Faisal Arab, presiding over the three-judge Special Court, questioned how the accused could be deprived of the investigation report when he wanted to see the documents for his defence.
Akram Sheikh replied that according to Section 5(1) of Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act 1976, it was not necessary to provide a copy of investigation report to the accused. He also said the court, not the accused, could demand those documents, adding the accused could ask for those documents which were produced against him in evidence.
The prosecutor pointed out that on the contention of the defence counsels the court had passed an order on March 7, 2014, which says, “The material that is before us at this stage is only limited to the extent that the accused consulted certain functionaries of the state, both civil and military, before imposing the emergency, so the involvement of any other person depends on the evidence which would come on the record.”
He pleaded the purpose of the application filed by the accused was to mystify the instant trial and embroil the court in the extraneous issues to delay the recording of evidence. “The application has been filed at an inappropriate and premature stage as recording of evidence has not yet commenced and no witness has deposed about the participation of any other alleged facilitators/collaborators.”
Akram Sheikh told the court that the prosecution evidence was mainly based upon the documents authored by Musharraf himself. He said since the investigation was conducted in a very fair and transparent manner, the federal government does not want to conceal anything from the court and the federal government would place on record a copy of the inquiry report as and when desired by the court.
On the conclusion of the arguments of the prosecution, Farogh Naseem asked the court whether it had dismissed his prayer for initiating high treason trial since March 23, 1956, as reported in the media. He said if the court had passed an order regarding the matter, a copy of that order should be provided to the defence counsels so that they could file a written explanation.
Farogh Naseem requested the court to adjourn the hearing for one week as he had obtained prosecution reply late night and could not study it. Akram Sheikh opposed the request. However, the court deferred the hearing till April 24, saying the trial would be held on day-to-day basis from the next hearing.
Talking to reporters outside the courtroom, Farogh Naseem, the counsel for Musharraf, said if the media could get the FIA investigation report, why the federal government was reluctant to provide a copy of it to the defence team. He said as there was no law to punish a person for committing a crime in the past, how Musharraf could be convicted for the 3rd November action.