A three-member bench of special Pakistani court reserved its judgement in the treason case against former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf. According to media reports, the verdict will be announced on November 28, 2019. The court reserved the verdict after Musharraf’s lawyer failed to submit arguments as he reportedly went to perform Umrah.
The court said that Musharraf’s counsel could submit written arguments by November 26, reported a Pakistani daily. The three-member bench, headed by Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, also inquired the reason behind the removal of the prosecution team. Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Sajid Ilyas Bhatti informed that change in government led to the resignation of the head of the prosecution Akram Sheikh. Advocate Sheikh, in his resignation letter to the interior secretary, had expressed his inability to head the team in the case after a change at the Centre.
The treason case against Musharraf was filed in 2013 by the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) government for alleged clampdown of the state through the imposition of extra-constitutional emergency in November 2007. But the former President managed to leave Pakistan in 2016 after the Supreme Court ordered the removal of his name from the Exit Control List (ECL). Since then, Musharraf, who took shelter in Dubai citing medical treatment, has refused to return to Pakistan.
The former military dictator is also facing terrorism charges and recently, an Islamabad High Court division bench had dismissed his plea to transfer the case from the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) to the sessions court. In 2011, a first information report (FIR) was registered against him under section 344 of Pakistan penal code in connection with criminal detention of judges of superior court after declaring an emergency. Gen. Musharraf, who seized power in 1999 by toppling the government of Nawaz Sharif, had to step down in 2008 due to his infamous decisions. Musharraf may face a death sentence if gets convicted in the case.