Prosecution head in treason case against Musharraf quits

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Islamabad, July 31: The high treason case against Pakistan’s former military General (retd) Pervez Musharraf suffered a blow as head of the prosecution has resigned, expressing his inability to proceed with the case after the imminent change of government at the Centre.

The Nawaz Sharif government had appointed Mohammad Akram Sheikh as head of the prosecution in the high treason case against the former president soon after the PML-N came to power in 2013 for his role in the promulgation of emergency on November 3, 2007.

In his resignation letter sent to the interior secretary yesterday, Sheikh expressed his inability to proceed with the case after the imminent change of government at the Centre, the Dawn reported.

Initially, the legal team of Musharraf, 74, challenged Sheikh’s appointment as chief prosecutor, but the special court seized with the high treason case as well as the Islamabad High Court (IHC) dismissed the challenge.

The special court had indicted Musharraf for high treason in March 2014. The prosecution laid its evidence by September same year. However, thereafter, the special court could not proceed against the former dictator as the IHC issued a stay order and then Musharraf left the country after the superior courts removed his name from the Exit Control List.

The special court declared him a proclaimed offender and ordered confiscation of his properties which could not be attached due to the litigation in courts.

The special court earlier this year resumed proceedings in the treason case and ordered that Musharraf’s computerised national identity card (CNIC) and passport be blocked.

The outgoing PML-N government in May executed the court order and blocked his CNIC and passport.

However, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, during hearing of a case related to disqualification of Musharraf, allowed him to return and restored his travel documents.

Sheikh repeatedly requested the special court to conclude the trial and issue a verdict in the absence of Musharraf, citing recent examples where the accountability court is conducting trial against former finance minister Ishaq Dar in absentia.

However, after the general elections and possible change of government where it is obvious that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is going to form the government, Sheikh mentioned in his resignation that the next government could engage a lawyer of its choice.

“If the PTI wanted to continue with the case, it could engage a lawyer to proceed with the case,” Sheikh was quoted as saying by the daily.

He, however, ruled out the possibility that any government may withdraw the treason case against Musharraf.

It will be tantamount to aiding and abetting the accused person, he said.

The All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) of Musharraf withdrew its candidate in support of Imran Khan from NA-53, Islamabad.

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