Omar files contempt case against President Musharraf -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Omar files contempt case against President Musharraf

KARACHI- Omar Sheikh moved a contempt of court application against President of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf before the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC-III) Karachi on Friday.

He filed the application on the basis of a news published in The News and other dailies on April 8 regarding the interview President Musharraf gave to a German weekly magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ in which he observed: “I want to see him (Omar) sentenced to death” and “If convicted, he should be hanged in the country in which he committed the crime.”

The application was filed through counsel Abdul Waheed Katpar during the trial of US journalist Daniel Pearl abduction and murder case. The court issued notice for April 22 to AG Sindh regarding maintainability of the contempt application against President.

It was submitted by applicant’s counsel that the respondent (General Musharraf) wears two crowns at one and the same time – he is President of the country and also the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces. But, he further submitted, to demand the sentence of death for Omar is to tell the court to convict and sentence the accused to capital punishment.

He contended that Section 16 of ATA laid down that before proceeding with the trial against the accused, the presiding judge has to take an oath upon Holy Qur’aan, that he will do justice to the accused, to the effect, that he shall decide the case honestly, faithfully and considering himself accountable to Almighty Allah.

The effect of the statement issued by the respondent may place the judges upon the horns of a dilemma to hold themselves accountable to the Mighty Musharraf or to the Almighty Allah. He pointed out that no such statement was made by General Zia when Z A Bhutto was tried on a charge of abetting a murder and no such statement was issued by Gen Ayub Khan when Shaikh Mujeeb was tried for treason in Agartala case.

Katpar contended that by issuing such statement, the respondent tried to give an impression to everyone in this country and abroad, that the trial is to end in a conviction, no matter what the merits of the case. He said the statement gave an impression to the world that the verdict would be nothing else but a conviction, culminating in the hanging of the accused facing the trial.

Regarding jurisdiction of the court, he maintained that there were examples in the Islamic traditions where, even the Caliph did not feel shy, in appearing before the Kazi. He prayed the court to issue process against the respondent under Section 3 and 4 of the Contempt of Court Act 1976, read with Article 2-A and 204 of the Constitution and if it is proved that the respondent had committed a contempt then the court may proceed against him, according to the law of land.

Source: The News
Date:4/13/2002