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Musharraf fails to appear; Special court orders Musharraf to appear today

02 January, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: Embattled former Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf Wednesday failed to appear before a special court, with his legal team seeking that the hearing in the high treason case be adjourned for five weeks.

Musharraf was supposed to appear before the court to face treason charges for suspending, subverting and abrogating the Constitution, imposing an emergency in the country in November 2007 and detaining judges of the superior courts.

70-year-old Musharraf's lawyers today submitted an application to exempt him from appearing before the court and to adjourn the case for a period of five weeks.

The application said that Musharraf had called for the November 3, 2007, emergency in his capacity as the country's military chief and he could only be tried by a military court in that respect.

Meanwhile, Special Court (SC) has ordered for production of Pervez Musharraf before it today (Thursday) at every cost remarking if he is not produced today then his arrest warrants will be issued

Court further remarked, "his summon has been issued and court does not want he is insulted."

The order further said "there are objections over court's proceedings. Decide it what has to be done about his attendance. As per Musharraf's counsel , there was report about plantation of bomb. We be not forced to issue any order for his attendance. The presence of the culprit is must in the court in non bailable offence.

Justice Faisal Arab remarked "Pervez Musharraf offence is unpardonable. We don't want to issue orders for his arrest. However we will be forced to issue orders of his arrest if he does not appear. His offence is non bailable therefore, a common police man can arrest him.

A 3-member Special Court (SC) headed by Justice Faisal Arab took up for hearing high treason case against former president Pervez Musharraf Wednesday.

A 12-member lawyers panel led by Sharif ud Din Pirzada represented former president Pervez Musharraf in the court. On the other side Akram Sheikh advocate appeared in the court along with other prosecutors.

Justice Faisal Arab remarked "Musharraf offence is unpardonable. We have his application whereby he has sought exemption from attendance in the court. But he has not approached the court for protective bail".

Anwar Mansoor argued "Musharraf lawyers are facing life threats. My own vehicle was attacked upon in Lahore. A vehicle with tinted glasses bearing no number plate has had my car. This has caused damage to my car but I remained safe in the incident. I have approached police for registration of case but police has not registered the case. Government is constantly hurling threats. Complete pictures are available in respect of my car incident ".

Justice Faisal Arab remarked "give us these pictures. We will take action. We have not issued arrest warrants of Pervez Musharraf being former army chief and president otherwise we have powers to issue arrest warrants. If we issue arrest warrants then a common police man can arrest him.

Anwar Mansoor said "only three high courts existed when the law with reference to treason was enacted and now the number of high courts has increased to 5. Therefore, number of judges will now be 5 instead of 3. Law should be amended. Under article 9, prime minister is government.

Criminal laws are not applicable to this case. Whosoever will breach law under article 6 of the constitution will be rendered liable to committing treason.

Those found collaborating in abrogating the constitution will be considered criminals. Parliament can enact the law but it can not change it. The SC will formulate its rules and regulations for hearing any case by it. Prime Minister (PM) has biased and vindictive feelings against my client. Not only the president but PM and his entire cabinet were included in the process of abrogating the constitution.

Justice Arab remarked "procedure for constitution of SC is spelt out in the constitution".

Anwar Mansoor said "there is no clause therein about consultation. It is not known as to why consultation was made with the Chief Justice (CJ). Justice should be seen to have been done. The former president be kept informed fully about the hearing of this case

Prosecutor Akram Sheikh insisted on presence of Pervez Musharraf during the hearing in the court. He can be indicted only if he is present in the court.

The court inquired as to why Pervez Musharraf had not come. "We had ordered for making his security arrangements", court remarked.

Akram Sheikh said "he had sent letter to interior secretary for security arrangements and arrangements for fool proof security were made.

Ahmad Raza Kasuri said in the court that there were four issues with reference to security. First security of this court, second security of judges, third security of lawyers and fourth security of Musharraf. This court looks court less and Shakespearian's theatre more.

The court remarked "only one lawyer can talk at one time.

Kasuri said "Musharraf has appointed a separate lawyer in every matter. His 12 lawyers will give arguments in the court. Musharraf bail has been accepted in four cases including Benazir Bhutto and Akbar Bugti murder cases.

US, UK, Saudi Arabia and UAE had asked us for arbitration in the case to settle the matter. But we have taken legal course and we are talking of relief under it. Musharraf was ready to come to court like the previous hearing but he could not come due to security concerns.

Explosive material has been seized on four occasions outside his residence and in the surrounding areas. It is responsibility of the court to provide full protection to him. We have reservations over his security matters.

Former PM Liaqat Ali Khan, Rajiv Gandhi, Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman and Benazir Bhutto were killed despite availability of security to them. Iranian parliament was exploded. This court is located at such venue where several avenues are leading to it.

The court inquired about the security of Pervez Musharraf. DIG Security Jan Muhammad told that police has made fool proof security arrangements as per available resources. He has no bullet proof vehicle with him.

The court expressed dissatisfaction over security arrangements remarking it will issue special orders in this regard.

The court asked Anwar Mansoor that he had filed petitions about the formation and jurisdiction of the court, therefore, he should give arguments.

He read out article 6, special court act, high treason act and other laws.

Musharraf's lawyers gave arguments on the objections raised over constitution of the SC and its jurisdiction after interval.

The court rejected them remarking "now the proceeding has started, therefore, these petitions are of no use".

This is the first time in Pakistan's history that a former military ruler is facing trial for treason.

If convicted, the former president could face life imprisonment or the death penalty.

End.

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