Monday January 24, 2022

High treason case: Court seeks assistance for recording Musharraf statement thru video link

March 20, 2019

ISLAMABAD: A special court hearing high treason case against former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for imposing an emergency rule on Nov 3, 2007, in the country on Tuesday sought assistance for recording the statement of the accused through video link.

A three-member bench, headed by Justice Tahira Safdar, resumed hearing on a complaint, lodged by former Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) government seeking initiation of high treason proceedings against Pervez Musharraf for imposing the emergency rule.

The court accepted an affidavit, filed by counsel for Pervez Musharraf, and issued directives for preparing a questionnaire by March 28 for recording the accused statement.

The counsel for former president contended that the presence of his client in the court was necessary saying his statement could not be recorded via video link. The prosecution, however, submitted that recording of the statement of the accused should not hinder the instant proceedings, hence the trial should move forward.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing until March 28.

Last year on Oct 15, the court had decided that the statement of the accused would be recorded by a Commission.

The former military dictator had submitted before the court that his worsening health was the only factor preventing him from returning to his homeland.

The prosecution had contended that under Section 9 of the Special Court Amendment Act 1976, the court had the power to conduct the trial of high treason case as expeditiously as possible and adopt any procedure when the accused was reluctant to cooperate, impede and frustrate the expeditious progress of the trial. On the previous hearing, Muhammad Akram Sheikh, former head of the prosecution team, had submitted before the court that sufficient time had been given to the accused, so its time now the court announced the decision.

He had contended that the court could issue arrest warrants for Musharaf besides cancelling his identity card and passport.

On March 8, 2108, the court had directed the Ministry of Interior to take effective measures for arresting the accused besides confiscating his properties.

The court had observed that it was the responsibility of the complainant (federal government) to bring back the accused as he had been declared an absconder besides his arrest warrants had already been issued. The court ordered that the interior ministry should take action for arrest of the former military ruler through the Interpol. In March, 2014, the former president was indicted in the case after he appeared before the court and rejected all charges.

In May, 2016, t he court had declared Pervez Musharaf as absconder under Section 87 of Criminal Procedure Code and directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to produce him before it on July 12, 2016.

Musharraf had expressed his willingness to face the trial under the army’s protection and on a surety from the court that he would be given a safe passage to return to Dubai.