South Asia

Musharraf alone responsible for emergency: prosecution

A file picture of Pakistan's former President and Military chief Pervez Musharraf.

A file picture of Pakistan's former President and Military chief Pervez Musharraf.

While a newspaper on Wednesday publicized a classified report of the inquiry by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) which is the basis for initiating the high treason trial against former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, the prosecution argued against giving the report to the defence team in the special court.

Defence lawyer Dr Farogh Naseem told the court during the hearing that the report in the newspaper was most disturbing as it was shown to a journalist but denied to the defence. Special Public Prosecutor Akram Sheikh dispelled the notion that the FIA report would not be submitted in court. He said that there was an insinuation by the defence that he had given the reporter the inquiry report and reiterated that if he did come across any document that favoured Musharraf he would place it before the court. He clarified that he was not privy to the investigation report of the FIA and told the court that he had asked the joint secretary of the ministry of interior to come to court with the report and if the judges wished for a copy it would be submitted.

Rebutting the defence argument that other people including the then Prime Minister and senior army and government officials should be named and tried along with Musharraf, Mr. Sheikh said that there was no material against them. He said the government cannot go witch hunting without adequate proof or level false charges. He said it was not possible to name anyone without proper proof and there was no evidence against the others. The document – the proclamation of emergency on November 3, 2007 was signed by the accused and it’s an exculpatory document , it’s not binding on the others, he added.

Mr. Sheikh said the proper course is to proceed with the trial or the accused can approach the interior secretary and demand another investigation into the role of the other people. He said every caution has been exercised and the accused has not been embroiled in this case without evidence. All the documents likely to be used in evidence have been supplied on December 14 to the defence team, he said.

There was no dissenting note as suggested by the defence, Mr. Sheikh said and the FIA report was signed by all the investigators including Hussain Asghar who reportedly did not agree with the report. Mr. Sheikh said Asghar was a witness and he can be cross examined. He dismissed reports of the dissenting note as conjecture and said all the three authors of the report are witnesses in the case. Even in global jurisprudence there was no precedent to supply the names of those who were interrogated in a case, as demanded by the defence.

The list of those interrogated ran into umpteen numbers, he said demanding that this application be rejected.

Dr Naseem said the FIA report was important as the defence needed to view its contents. If the contents of a classified report was published in a newspaper then it was in the public domain, he said adding that the intention was to deny a fair trial by not giving access to the report. He will present international case law on the matter on April 24. Justice Faisal Arab has ordered that the case will be heard on a day to day basis after the arguments in the remaining two applications are completed.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 4:59:28 pm |