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Court rejects plea to order Musharraf's symbolic arrest

18 January, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The special court on Friday rejected the special prosecutor's plea to issue orders for symbolic arrest of Pervez Musharraf, who is on trial on the charge of high treason.

In its order, the court maintained that the decision regarding the arrest of Musharraf or otherwise would be made on January 24 after it receives reports from the medical board, comprising senior doctors of Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC). The court adjourned the hearing of the case till Monday. During Friday's proceedings, Anwar Mansoor, counsel for Musharraf, continued the arguments on the issuance of a notification by the federal government for the constitution of special court's bench.

However, Akram Sheikh, special public prosecutor, contended that the court should at least pass an order for the symbolic arrest of the accused, as he (Musharraf) might proceed abroad. The court rejected his stance and stated that appropriate orders would be issued after it receives the reports from AFIC.

Akram Sheikh said, "The matter of non-arrest of Pervez Musharraf is being mocked at and apprehension remains that he will flee the country." Justice Faisal Arab, head of the special court, remarked, "Pervez Musharraf's name is placed in the Exit Control List. Court has other options with it but no order will be issued till the decision of the medical board. He further remarked "courts do not issue orders to please someone or in the matter of making mockery. The court's ruling is aimed at fulfilling legal obligations."

Another legal counsel of Musharraf, Barrister Saif, termed prosecutor Akram Sheikh's statement about his client's possible exit from the country as ridiculous. "Akram Sheikh's own government enlisted Musharraf in the Exit Control List (ECL) and he (Musharraf) will face the situation and will not flee from scene cowardly," he added. Talking to media outside the special court, he said, "There is no procedure to take (someone) into symbolic custody in criminal cases, but this is Akram Sheikh's personal opinion and decisions could not be taken on personal opinions," said Saif.

Talking about the detailed medical report of Musharraf, his legal counsel said that it would likely be presented in the court on January 24. He declined to comment on Aseefa Bhutto Zardari's suggestion that the court should be shifted to the hospital so that Musharraf's trial could be started, saying Musharraf will face all cases bravely after his recovery.

Musharraf's lawyer Anwar Mansoor, while arguing over the objections raised by him on notification of constitution of the special court, consultation with the chief justices of high courts and supreme court, appointment of prosecutor and formation of the special court, took the plea that issuance of the notification on January, 20, 2013, in respect of constitution of the special court, is not correct as per law. "Consultation with chief justice on appointment of judges and notification on formation of special court are illegal."

He argued that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry have a personal grudge against his client and this all was done with malafide intent. The counsel said Musharraf had consulted services chiefs, corps commanders and other important personalities before imposing the July 3, 2007 emergency. "Emergency was not imposed by him at individual level but it was slapped collectively," he added. Mansoor said it was mentioned in the proclamation of emergency order that some judges wanted to weaken the executive.

The special court had on Thursday constituted the medical board to ascertain the health condition of the former military dictator. 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.

End.

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