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Musharraf suffers 'heart problem' on way to court

03 January, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The special court trying former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in a high treason case on Thursday decided not to issue arrest warrants for him after he developed a heart problem while on his way to appear before the court and ultimately landed in the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) in Rawalpindi for treatment.

Musharraf was due to appear in the special court conducting his high treason trial. The court was informed that the former military ruler was on his way to the court when he suffered a "heart problem" and was shifted to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) in Rawalpindi where army took over security responsibilities.

The three-member bench of the special court, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, decided not to issue arrest warrant against Musharraf on medical grounds and granted him another exemption from personal appearance in the court.

The hearing of the high treason case was adjourned until January 6. Special prosecutor Akram Sheikh will raise preliminary objections on the two petitions filed by the accused against his (Sheikh's) appointment as well as constitution of the special court. Musharraf's counsels said on Thursday that future appearance of their client would be dependent on his health condition.

DIG Islamabad (Security) Jan Muhammad informed the court that Musharraf was being brought to the court, but on the way "he had a heart attack", therefore he had been shifted to AFIC. Strict security arrangements were in place on the route Musharraf was to take to the court from his farmhouse. The security arrangements included mobile phone jammers, around 1,000 police officials, placement of containers to stop traffic, and bomb scanners.

Special prosecutor Akram Sheikh requested that the custody of the accused should be regulated and the court should issue his non-bailable warrant. He stated that if Musharraf was ill then his illness should be treated in accordance with the law. The counsel also insisted that the court's December 24 order regarding the appearance of the accused should be complied with. Meanwhile, the counsel for Musharraf, Dr Khalid Ranjha, told the court that his client was ill and his non-appearance should not be perceived as non-compliance of the court's order.

Earlier, Musharraf's legal team moved an application, requesting the special court that he be exempted from personal appearance so that the trial is not hampered. Musharraf expressed fear for his security and referred to the recent attack on Sindh High Court chief justice and other incidents, calling for caution. "The respondent has in recent past received threats from different terrorist quarters. On the last two hearings the terrorists also planted explosive devices and rockets around his house and on the route to the court. The IGP, Islamabad, emphatically instructed the respondent not to move out of his house, without proper security," the application states.

It further said that contrary to the letter of November 8, 2013 written to Musharraf, it is believed that the Islamabad IGP appeared before this court on the behest of the prosecutor and assured the court that he can ensure the security of the respondent to this court and back, adding that the statement of the IGP is untrustworthy because he is a direct subordinate to the complainant, interior secretary.

Musharraf's counsel Anwar Mansoor said that he was also facing threats and claimed that someone kept banging on his house's door and ringing the bell last night. "This is totally uncalled for. I could not sleep whole night. I am not in the frame of mind to proceed and request to adjourn the hearing until Monday," he added.

Likewise, Musharraf's leading counsel Sharifuddin Pirzada said that Akram Sheikh threatened him today (Thursday) through Ibrahim Satti. This followed a blame game. Justice Faisal Arab told the counsels that such things happen in schools and colleges and asked them to maintain discipline.

End.

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