Law ministry headed by Dr. Farrukh Naseem is busy in thorough research before filing a reference against Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) who headed the special court that handed death sentence to General ® Pervaiz Musharaf in a high treason case.
The reference against Justice Seth will be filed for writing paragraph no 66 of the detailed judgment in the high treason case against former dictator Gen ® Perez Musharraf. The interesting fact here is that this paragraph is not part of the operational judgment as other member of the Bench Justice Shahid Karim disagrees with Justice Seth. But this paragraph angered the government and the powerful military.
Para 66 reads: “We direct the law enforcement agencies to strive their level best to apprehend the fugitive/convict [Pervez Musharraf] and to ensure that the punishment is inflicted as per law and if found dead, his corpse be dragged to the D-Chowk [in front of the Parliament House], Islamabad, Pakistan, and be hanged for three days.”
The military spokesman General Asif Ghafoor- Attorney General and law minister reacted very strongly on this paragraph and termed it unIslamic- unethical and unlawful. The Military spokesman termed it an act of vengeance against former army chief. The Law minister and others used very strong and objectionable language against justice Waqar.
The PTI government is going to set a new precedent as it is going to file a reference in Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against a sitting judge on the basis of a judicial judgment. It will be a first such reference against any judge in the history of Pakistan. It never happened before.
A spokesperson said the law ministry is currently conducting research work on the reference, adding that the attorney general for Pakistan, who was in Turkey on an official visit, returned on Saturday and he would give his input in the preparation of the reference.
According to media reports and sources in law ministry – Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability and matters of interior ministry Mirza Shahzad Akbar is overseeing the preparation of the reference. Mr Akbar, who heads the Assets Recovery Unit, was also behind the filing of reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court. Justice Isa has challenged the SJC’s proceedings before the Supreme Court and a larger bench of the apex court is hearing the matter.
Following issuance of the detailed verdict in the high treason case earlier this week, the government’s legal team announced filing the reference against Justice Seth in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), besides challenging the judgment in the Supreme Court.
The judgment also criticised the role of parliament and judiciary for validating and supporting the extra-constitution acts. The judgment discussed in detail the role played by the parliament in supporting the acts of General Musharaf in November 2007.
Both the government and the army expressed anger over paragraph number 66 and termed it unlawful, inhuman and unconstitutional.
The government decided to move the SJC and file an appeal against the verdict during a meeting of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s strategic committee headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, after his telephonic conversation with Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The decision to move against the special court’s verdict and its author Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth was revealed by Law Minister Farugh Naseem, Special Assistant to the PM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Shahzad Akbar at a joint press conference.
Mr Naseem at the presser said the government had the grounds to file a reference against the PHC’s chief justice because there was a verdict of then chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry which said “incompetence is a ground of misconduct”.
The interesting fact is that Supreme Court has already made it clear in its decisions that a reference could not be filed on the basis of a judgment. But the PTI government is still mulling its option to file such reference. Let’s see what happened with this reference in SJC.
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