Islamabad: The federal government has started considering names of different officials to constitute a team to ‘reinvestigate’ the high treason case as the joint investigation team (JIT) that probed the matter in 2013 is no longer available, sources privy to the prosecution said.
On November 10, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered the federal government to reinvestigate the alleged aiders and abettors in the case.
The treason case was probed by the JIT headed by Mohammad Khalid Qureshi, additional director general of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), with directors Hussain Asghar and Maqsoodul Hassan as its members. The JIT held former military ruler Pervez Musharraf as the sole accused in the treason case.
On Nov 10, IHC directed federal govt to reinvestigate the case
On November 11, 2013, it submitted a report on the basis of which the secretary interior in December 2013 filed a complaint against Gen Musharraf for ‘subversion’ of the Constitution by proclaiming an emergency on November 3, 2007.
The proceedings in the treason case started on December 13, 2013. However, JIT was dissolved in March last year after Hussain Asghar was transferred from the FIA to the Punjab Constabulary. Mr Qureshi, however, continued appearing before the special court as the head of JIT and also recorded his statement in September 2014.
A few months ago, Mr Qureshi, a senior officer of the police service of Pakistan (PSP), was posted to the National Police Academy as its commandant. Sources said Mr Qureshi was about to retire from service.
The services of Hussain Asghar are currently at the disposal of the Punjab police.
Maqsoodul Hassan, however, is still working with the FIA as director.
According to the sources, Dr Shafique, the incumbent additional director general of the FIA, a successor of Mr Qureshi, might be assigned the treason case’s reinvestigation but the federal government is also looking for some other officials.
The sources said the new head of the JIT would select his team, preferably within the FIA.
The IHC in its judgment on Nov 10 warned that the investigation agency would face the consequence in case the probe did not cover all the aspects besides including the aiders and abettors.
A top government functionary on the condition of anonymity told Dawn that unlike the past the government was not in a hurry to prosecute the former army chief.
He said because of the resentment from the military establishment, the government may drag the ‘reinvestigation’ to delay the matter.
Barrister Farogh Nasim, the lead defence counsel for Gen Musharraf, said the trial in the treason case cannot be resumed till the ‘reinvestigation’ of the case.
“It was our consistent view that the investigation was flawed,” he said, adding the IHC in its recent judgment made it clear that the investigation was faulty and the federal government must include in the case all the aiders and abettors who facilitated the imposition of the emergency on November 3, 2007.
He said section 2 of Article 6 defines that the “person aiding or abetting” a high treason shall be jointly tried along with the accused person.
Section 6-C of the special court law also asks for the joint trial of the all the aiders and abettors, he added.
The defence team would raise these points before the special court during the next date of hearing on November 27, he said.
The trial in the special court, headed by Chief Justice of Sindh High Court (SHC) Justice Faisal Arab, was stopped in December last year when the IHC admitted for a regular hearing petitions filed by former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, ex-chief justice of Pakistan Abdul Hameed Dogar and the incumbent federal minister Zahid Hamid. They had challenged the special court’s Nov 21, 2014, order implicating them as co-accused in the treason case.
Mohammad Akram Sheikh, the head of the prosecution team, however, still believes that the IHC order never asked the special court to suspend the ‘solo’ trial of Gen Musharraf.
The IHC also did not discard the investigation and on the basis of the evidence the prosecution had already brought on the court record, the trial against the former military ruler may be resumed on Nov 27, he added.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan during a press briefing on November 20 said his ministry – the complainant in the treason case – had forwarded the IHC decision to the attorney general of Pakistan for his legal opinion. The attorney general is abroad these days.
The government would proceed in the matter in the light of the IHC decision after the attorney general’s return, he said.