A Special Court had in 2019 sentenced Pervez Musharraf to death after convicting him for high treason, but the verdict was later overturned by the Lahore High Court (LHC).
An appeal against the high court’s decision filed before the Supreme Court remains unheard so far, which means Musharraf’s conviction over his 2007 act of declaring emergency does not currently stand.
Legal experts are of the view that there currently is no conviction in the field against Musharraf as the special court’s verdict was nullified by the LHC.
Apart from the appeal in treason case pending before the Supreme Court, a case relating to enforced disappearances is also pending adjudication in the Islamabad High Court.
Last month, the IHC had asked the federal government to issue notices to Musharraf and all successive chief executives of the country as to why proceedings should not be initiated against them for subversion of the Constitution in context of the state policy on enforced disappearance.
Lawyer Abdul Moiz Jaferii says that the LHC’s decision has basically rendered the entire special court process redundant and brought it to a naught. He added that the Supreme Court must hear the appeal and take the Lahore High Court’s decision to its logical conclusion.
Barrister Ambreen Qureshi, while commenting on the appeal against LHC’s decision, said that cases will be heard and those without merit will be thrown out. “Considering the current situation of Pakistan, it is better to let go of all political vendetta and strive for what is best for the country only,” she added.
Do ordinary criminals facing illnesses get relief?
Ambreen says that extremely sick or terminally ill prisoners in Pakistan can legally be released on health grounds. “Prisons should be used to deter criminals and not for any other ulterior motives,” she adds.
Lawyer Usama Khawar notes how the Pakistani law is not lenient when it comes to rights of paralysed prisoners. “According to the law and as per a 2015 Supreme Court decision in a paralysed prisoner’s case, there is no bar in hanging an ill prisoner and it is not expressly forbidden by the prison rules.”
Observers say the relief being granted to Musharraf should also be extended to other physically and mentally unwell prisoners or convicts.