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Court orders special medical board to examine Musharraf

17 January, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The special court conducting Pervez Musharraf's high treason trial has constituted a medical board, comprising senior doctors of the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), to ascertain the health condition of the former military dictator.

The special court, headed by Justice Faisal Arab and comprising Justice Tahira Safdar and Justice Yawar Ali, asked the medical board to submit its report by January 24, after which it will decide about the appearance of the accused before it. The medical team was asked to give three answers regarding the health of Musharraf – how precarious is the health condition of the accused, which restricts his movement so as to prevent him from attending the court? Has the accused undergone any surgery or other medical procedure during his stay in the hospital or any surgery or medical procedure is planned to be undertaken during his hospitalisation? For how long has the accused been advised further hospitalisation?

While submitting a statement Musharraf's legal team contended that it was not possible for him to attend the court as he has not been discharged from the hospital and continues to be under treatment at AFIC. Anwar Mansoor Khan, counsel for Musharraf, said that in view of the health of his client, it is not possible for him to attend the court, adding that he has not been discharged from the hospital, and continues to be under treatment.

He also submitted that Musharraf had earlier been under treatment at the International Cardiology, Paris Regional Medical Centre Paris, Texas, USA, and he is being advised that he be transferred at the earliest to the said medical facility so that he is provided further diagnostic and therapeutic treatment. The counsel also attached with the statement a letter from Arjumand Hashmi, the US-based doctor of Musharraf, who recommended that the former military ruler be immediately sent abroad for medical treatment.

Further, Musharraf has challenged the appointment of the prosecutor in the treason case. Anwar Mansoor contended that the prosecutor has not been appointed in accordance with law, is biased and has made several public allegations against the respondents on various media forums and thus cannot act as neutral person/prosecutor. The counsel for Musharraf submitted that the security issue is liable to be reconsidered in view of gruesome attack and the sad demise of SSP Chaudhry Aslam and the destruction of his bulletproof car.

Earlier, when the special court resumed the hearing into treason case, Prosecutor Akram Sheikh argued that the court had summoned Musharraf six times but he did not appear before it, which can be considered contempt of the court. He contended that courts do not wait for the accused and then quoted the example of Egypt's former dictator Hosni Mubarak who was brought to court on a stretcher. "A person who absents himself loses his right of audience," Sheikh said.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court on Thursday dismissed the plea of Pervez Musharraf through which he sought suspension of the three-member special court's summons to him for January 16 in his high treason trial. A single-member bench of the IHC, comprising Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan, announced the decision after hearing the arguments of Musharraf's counsel Dr Khalid Ranjah.

During the course of hearing, Musharraf's lawyer said the special court's January 10 order be set aside for being illegal. He said that it would unfairly prejudice the case of the petitioner. He said the Special Court Act 1976 only puts restraints on other courts and does not put any fetters on the special court itself. He said the provision of Section 369 does not bar the special court from making any change or alteration in its order of January 9.

Ranjha said the 369 CrPC puts no restraint on the courts powers in the matter of interim orders.

End.

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