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Pakistan Politics Trending Now

Judges Who called Musharraf’s Martial Law Legal Should Also Be Tried, says Justice Athar Minallah

Islamabad: In a recent hearing on appeals against the late Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s sentence, a noteworthy exchange unfolded between Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Athar Minallah of the Supreme Court. The discussion delved into the history of democracy in the country.

Addressing the October 12 coup by Musharraf and the subsequent November 3 emergency, CJP Isa emphasized the importance of learning from the past. In response, Justice Minallah raised a critical point, stating, “If we have to go into the past, then Pervez Musharraf abrogated the Constitution, dissolved assemblies, and this very court gave way to it.”

He went on to suggest that judges who deemed Musharraf’s martial law legal should also face trial, underscoring the need to speak the truth. “Why was action taken only on the November 3 action?” questioned Justice Minallah. He highlighted the potential questions of a fair trial, suggesting that if action was initiated only when judges were attacked, the severity of dissolving assemblies and suspending the Constitution should also be addressed.

CJP Faez Isa acknowledged the limitations in undoing past events, offering a comparison with South Africa’s history. He stressed the importance of learning from history to shape a better future, extending the responsibility not only to the judiciary but also to the media. Justice Isa suggested that the media should also be subject to scrutiny.

The discussion further touched upon the stance of journalists on martial law. Justice Minallah pointed out the historical trend where powerful figures faced little opposition, but judgments emerged when they weakened.

The four-member bench, headed by CJP Isa, adjourned further hearing on the appeals until January 10. The exchange highlights the ongoing dialogue on historical accountability within the judicial system, addressing the complexities surrounding Musharraf’s actions and their legal repercussions.

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