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Justice Waqar Seth Who Sentenced Gen. Musharraf For High Treason Passes Away

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ISLAMABAD: Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth has passed away, a spokesperson for the provincial top court confirmed late Thursday. He was 59.

Justice Seth had tested positive for the coronavirus on October 22 and was subsequently admitted to a hospital in Peshawar, the spokesperson said. He was later shifted to Kulsoom International Hospital in Islamabad where he succumbed to the deadly illness earlier in the day, the spokesperson said.

His funeral prayers will be offered Peshawar on Friday at 2:30pm.

He was most famous for being on the bench that handed the death penalty to former president Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case.

Justice Seth’s controversial observation in the detailed verdict of the high treason case — sentencing former military dictator Pervez Musharraf to death — had the government opt to take legal action against the judge.

The special court had sentenced Musharraf to death under Article 6 of the Constitution on December 17, 2019. In the detailed verdict, Justice Seth said in the paragraph 66: “We direct the law enforcement agencies to strive their best to apprehend the fugitive/convict and to ensure that the punishment is inflicted as per law and if found dead, his corpse be dragged to the D-Chowk, Islamabad, Pakistan, and be hanged for 03 days.”

The verdict appeared to have irked many quarters and Law Minister Farogh Naseem announced on December 19, 2019 that the federal government would file a reference against Justice Seth under Article 209 of the Constitution in the Supreme Judicial Council.

Later in January, the Lahore High Court quashed the Musharraf high treason case verdict, terming the formation of the Special Court unconstitutional.

A March 30 report had stated that the PHC’s top judge had requested the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) to recommend his elevation to the Supreme Court on the basis of his seniority and merit.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who is also the JCP chair, the judge had said he had a legitimate expectancy to be appointed as the apex court’s judge and should be recommended for the appointment.

Justice Seth was elevated to the PHC as Additional Judge on August 2, 2011, and took oath as Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court on June 28, 2018. He was born in Dera Ismail Khan on March 16, 1961.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and others expressed sorrow over the death of Justice Seth.

The Prime Minister took to Twitter and wrote, “Saddened to learn of the passing of Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Waqar Ahmed Seth. May his soul rest in peace – Ameen. My condolences & prayers go to his family.”

The Chief of Army Staff said, “May Allah bless his soul & give strength to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss, Ameen.”

Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, and other judges of the Supreme Court expressed deep sorrow and grief over the sad demise. They have extended their heartfelt condolences and sincere sympathies to members of the bereaved family of the departed soul.

They prayed to Almighty Allah to shower His blessings upon the departed soul and to give patience to the bereaved family members to bear this irreparable loss with equanimity (Ameen).

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and Supreme Court Bar Association announced to observe one-day mourning today across the country-wide courts over the sad demise of Justice Seth. TLTP

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Naya Daur