ISLAMABAD - Monday brought a great disappointment for former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf as the Supreme Court, accepting the federation’s appeal, suspended Sindh High Court order to remove his name from the Exit Control List (ECL).
Now he won’t be able to travel abroad for at least four weeks as a five-member bench of apex court headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk adjourned the case for one month. Justice Nasir observed that the Sindh High Court (SHC) in its judgment cited many cases but did not reproduce April 8, 2013 order of the apex court.
Musharaf’s counsel Dr Farogh Naseem argued that the SHC had discussed the April 8 order. But Nasir said the SC order should have been reproduced in the SHC order of June 12, 2014. The SHC on June 12 had ordered for removing Musharraf’s name from the ECL, but had suspended this order for around two weeks giving the federal government time to appeal against the decision.
In the start of the proceeding, Attorney General Salman Butt read out SHC’s June 12 verdict. He informed the court that Musharraf’s name was put on ECL April 8 order wherein the apex court had directed the federation and all the functionaries to ensure that Pervez Mushraf does not leave the jurisdiction of Pakistan till the final decision.
He submitted that the Supreme Court had also directed interior secretary to ensure that if the name of Pervez Musharaf is not already on the ECL, it must be done forthwith. Justice Saqib Nisar asked from the attorney general who has the authority to put name on ECL. The interior ministry, replied the AGP. Justice Saqib said in view of the present scenario, federal government should have placed the name of the accused on ECL.
“Why did you not apply your mind independently; gave the reasons and passed a fresh order?“ Justice Saqib asked AGP. The attorney general replied that he has already given the reasons in the instant petition. Justice Saqib then stated that the Sindh High Court has not prevented the federation to pass a fresh order, adding why the federation is shy to put the accused name on the ECL. The honourable judge further inquired, “What would you have done if the order of the apex was not available?”
Dr Farogh Naseem said his client’s mother is hospitalised in UAE and he wants to see his ailing mother, adding the SHC judgment clearly mentioned that merely pendency of criminal and civil cases against a citizen was no ground to deny him the fundamental right of travelling within or outside the country. He further submitted that his client has got bail in all the cases from the courts. Justice Nasir however told the counsel that instant case relates to the order that the apex court passed on April 8.
Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa observed that the issue is not as to whether the impugned order was right or wrong but the real issue is as to whether the respondent should be allowed to go abroad or not. Farogh said his client’s behaviour in the past was quite good while dealing the court matters. At this Justice Khosa remarked that in the criminal cases, the presence of the accused is essential before the court, adding that in one or two cases, arrest warrants have been issued against the respondent.
The judge said when Pervez Musharraf was abroad, the court repeatedly asked him to ensure his appearance before it but he did not comply the order, therefore, the court had to order for confiscation of his property. Justice Khosa questioned what is the guarantee that the respondent’s (Musharraf) behaviour will be good in future? The court observed that besides high treason, there were other cases pending against the former general in various courts of the country.