ISLAMABAD: As the high treason trial against former military ruler (retd) General Pervez Musharraf enters into its advanced stage, Musharraf’s legal team claimed before a three-judge special court that Article 6 of the Constitution is not implementable.
Leading defence counsel Farogh Nasim, while cross-examining Interior Secretary Shahid Khan, said that no action of Musharraf falls under Article 6 of the Constitution.
Nasim also targeted Musharraf’s successor former army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani several times.
The interior secretary — who is also a complainant in the case — said he is not a constitutional expert to define Article 6, and refuted the claim of the defence team that Musharraf’s case did not come under it.
Nasim revealed his fear that summaries, letters and documents related to the consultation process for the promulgation of emergency rule in 2007 have been destroyed or conceived by the federal government and the interior secretary – a claim denied by Interior Secretary Khan.
The interior secretary confessed that a joint investigation team (JIT) could not approach the General Headquarters (GHQ) to get the required record in order to ascertain who the aiders, abettors and facilitators of Musharraf were in his decision for the promulgation of emergency rule in the country on November 3, 2007.
The federal secretary — who also faced harsh questions regarding his alleged closeness with the Sharif brothers from the defence counsel — said that the JIT did not record statements, and no legal action has been taken against any senior army officials because there was no evidence of abetment against then army chief Kayani, services chiefs, corps commanders and any other senior member of the armed forces.
Khan also confessed that no commission was formed to oversee the investigation in this case as was promised by the premier, and argued that the prime minister gave a general statement. However, the court also observed that the prime minister’s statement was incorporated in one of the orders of the Supreme Court (SC).
Answering another question, Khan said that following illegal orders and failing to dissent don’t come under the definition of aiders, abetment and facilitators. Khan said that he had heard that the apex court held that following illegal orders is also no excuse in various judgments.
Nasim then asked whether Kayani was also involved in the abetment from 3rd November 2007 to 15 December 2007 for not withdrawing the emergency order. In response, the interior secretary stated that he was not in a position to state whether or not he was to be regarded as an aider or abettor.
Nasim said that the charges and inquiry report of the JIT is partial, incomplete, inaccurate, biased, malicious, fraudulent and mala fide. However, the secretary did not agree with the counsel.
Nasim also revealed his apprehensions that Gen Musharraf was targeted only on the behest of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
One of the main reasons then cabinet members and legislators were given a clean slate was because they are also present in the ruling party and federal cabinet, Nasim claimed.
Nasim said that the SC allowed Musharraf to hold dual offices in 2005. Similarly in 2008, in the Tikka Iqbal case, the apex court validated the steps taken by Musharraf.
The interior secretary also said that he might have asked the investigation team’s members regarding the failure to record a statement of military officials and access to GHQ to ascertain the record but could not remember each and everything.
Nasim asked Khan if he approached any court after he was denied access to the GHQ record, to which the complainant replied “no”.
The interior secretary, who served as secretary industries and home secretary in previous the Punjab government under Shahbaz Sharif and remained posted in Saudi Arabia when the Sharif family was in exile, avoided many crucial questions asked by the defence team.
Three low cardre officials will be cross-examined by the defence team on Thursday (tomorrow).