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Special court to hear Musharraf case under criminal code

11 January, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: Hearing the high treason case against Pervez Musharraf, the special court stated on Friday that the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is applicable in this matter.

The applicability of CrPC will allow the court to issue an arrest warrant against the accused (Musharraf) over his non-appearance before it. A three-member bench of the special court, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, on Friday also rejected Musharraf's plea to suspend its January 9 order regarding his personal appearance on January 16. The court said that it cannot revisit its orders and Musharraf will have to appear before it on the next hearing of the case.

On Thursday, the court had directed Musharraf to appear before it on January 16, warning appropriate orders' would be issued against him if he failed to so. One member of the defence team said that Musharraf would not appear before the court on January 16, and another medical report might be furnished regarding his inability to appear before the court. Senior lawyers say that the performance of the prosecution team has been excellent in the past proceedings of the case.

During the hearing, Justice Faisal Arab observed that significant constitutional issues were involved in this case and this trial could not be concluded in days or months. Musharraf's counsel Anwar Mansoor on Friday moved a written application against the court's January 9 order regarding the appearance of his client in the next hearing. The counsel said they believed that the notification issued by the federal government for the constitution of the special court was illegal, and the prime minister did not follow the lawful and constitutional procedure in the process of formulation of the court, which was required under Article 90 of the constitution.

"Our applications are already pending before this court, including transfer of this case to military court, and court can decide in our favour," he added. On the other hand, special prosecutor Akram Sheikh pointed out that as per Article 90 (2) of the constitution, the prime minister could act directly. The defence counsels filed another application over the night to engage this court, Sheikh said, adding that "you should just adjourn the hearing till January 16 because even today no one is seeking exemption for Musharraf".

He also contended that the special court had no power/jurisdiction to alter, amend, revisit or review its orders except issuing necessary clarification in case of any confusion or clerical mistake. "To challenge the final judgement of this court in the Supreme Court is only available remedy in this case," Sheikh held. Meanwhile, the media coverage of the treason trial also came under scrutiny during the proceedings. Justice Faisal Arab pointed out that some of the headlines regarding this case are punching.

Anwar Mansoor said he had never interacted with media persons about the merits of the case but the special persecutor preferred to approach the media on daily basis. On the other hand, Sheikh responded that he would not talk with media persons if both sides promised to do the same. The hearing of the case was adjourned until January 16.

The special court on Thursday examined the medical report of the former military ruler, which was submitted by the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) on January 7, and summoned him on January 16. The court had observed that Musharraf had failed to obey its order regarding his personal appearance before it. "The medical report does not reflect that the accused suffered a heart attack or that he is ailing to an extent that he is unable to appear before the court," the court observed. It noted in its order that Musharraf's medical report does not suggest that he, in his present state of health, is unable to attend the court.


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