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Musharraf yet to confess while his counsel seeks punishment: court

13 February, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The Special Court on Wednesday observed former President Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf has not yet appeared before it or confessed to treason charges but his lawyer is asking for punishment.

The three-member court, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, and comprising Justices Tahira Safdar and Yawar Ali, resumed hearing into the government's complaint, seeking initiating of high treason case against Musharaf for abrogating the constitution on November 3, 2007, and imposing emergency rule.

During the hearing, Rana Ijaz, one of Musharraf's counsels, told the court that his client was under treatment in hospital. Ijaz offered himself for punishment saying he was a minister in Musharraf government.

He said it would be an honour for him if he was punished for his client. At this, Justice Arab said that on the one hand you say the court has no jurisdiction and on the other you are asking for punishment.

He said the accused (Musharaf) has yet not confessed to the charges leveled against him but his counsel is asking the court to announce punishment.The court also rejected the plea of Musharaf's counsel to stop Prosecutor Muhammad Akram Sheikh from making arguments in the case.

Sahibzada Ahmed Raza Kasuri, another lawyer of Musharaf, told the court they have already challenged appointment of Muhammad Akram Sheikh as prosecutor so Sheikh should be stopped from making arguments in the case.

The court rejected the defense objection and asked Sheikh to continue his arguments. Continuing his argument, Sheikh submitted before the court that Islamabad High Court (IHC) has already rejected the petition praying for the transfer of high treason case to the military court.

The prosecutor contended that acceptance of the order of constitutional court was mandatory for other courts. He submitted that the offence of high treason is a constitutional offence which is punishable under the High Treason (Punishment) Act 1973 and Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act, 1976 envisages the setting up of a special court with an exclusive jurisdiction to try the offence of high treason.

He submitted that a special court set up under Section 4 of the Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act, 1976 cannot be treated as an ordinary court of criminal justice in Pakistan as referred to under Sub-Section (7) of Section 8 for the trial of civil offences.

Meanwhile, Dr Khalid Ranjah, counsel for Musharaf, sought adjournment from the court due to his personal engagements which the court accepted and adjourned the hearing till February 18.

The special court on February 7 had ordered Musharaf to ensure his appearance before it on February 18 otherwise non-bailable warrant would be issued for him.

The court exempted the former president from appearance till February 18 after his lawyer Anwar Mansoor Khan gave assurance that he will produce his client before the court on February 18.The court had also directed his surety Gen (R) Rashid Qureshi to appear before it on the said date.

End.

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