ISLAMABAD: At last former president general (retd) Parvez Musharraf appeared before the Special Court in high treason case in tight security on Tuesday but he could not be indicted during Tuesday’s hearing. The special court said that framing of charges against Musharraf will be done after taking a decision over application against court’s authority on next Friday.
Counsel of Musharraf, Anwar Manssor Khan argued that court should announce verdict on applications filed in special court challenging the formation of court, appointment of judges, appointment of prosecutor and transferring the case of Musharraf in military court. The court will also deliver the verdict on the plea of exemption of Musharraf from court appearance on next Friday. The court will continue hearing on the petitions filed against the appointment of judges, prosecutor and formation of court today (Wednesday).
Special court headed by Justice Faisal Arab and comprising Justices Syeda Tahira Safdar and Yawar Ali Khan conducted the 23rd hearing of the high treason case against Parvez Musharraf.
During the hearing the court asked from counsel of Musharraf, Anwar Mansoor Khan that where is accused. Upon this Anwar Mansoo said Musharraf would appear before the court at anytime today, adding that it was the responsibility of security agencies to present Musharraf in court. Anwar Mansoor said whatever promise he made fulfill it. At the outset of the hearing the Fathea was offered for the 23 slain FC personnel.
The guarantor of Musharraf, major general (retd) Rashid Qurreshi was appeared before the court.
Anwar Mansoor while giving counter arguments on the petition for transferring the case against Musharraf in military court said there is allegation of treason against Musharraf, adding when the act was committed Musahrraf was wearing uniform. He said that the case of Musharraf should be transferred in military court for conducting trial under army act.
Prosecutor Akram Sheikh objected over the arguments of Anwar Mansoor on the plea for seeking transfer of case of Musharraf in military court. Akram Sheikh said initially Khalid Ranjah has presented arguments and now Anwar Mansoor is presenting arguments. The court permitted Anwar Mansoor to present arguments. Anwar Mansoor said that the amendment of 1977 in army act is effective even today. He said that the article six is different from article 245. He said that the case of high treason against Musharraf could be proceeded in army court instead of special court. Justice Faisal Arab said according to Anwar Mansoor the special court has become redundant for conducting proceedings of article six against Musahrraf. Anwar Mansoor replied the law says this. He said according to treason act the death of life imprisonment sentence could be awarded if the crime is proved. The court after the completion of the arguments of Anwar Mansoor reserved the verdict on the plea.
Meanwhile Awnar Mansoor while presenting arguments on the petitions of selection of judges and their prejudice said if the allegation of prejudice is leveled against any judge he should quit the bench.
After the interval of the court, counsel of Musharraf Anwar Mansoor said Musharraf is sitting in the vehicle but the SP Islamabad has refused to proceed towards court. He said the court should issue directions to court. On this point prosecutor Akram Skeikh said Musharraf is free citizen and not in custody of anyone. He said no one has stopped Musharraf from appearing in court, adding that Musharraf himself could appear before the court.
On the occasion the court directed the joint secretary of interior ministry Mubarak Ali to issue directions to the police for ensuring the presence of Musharraf in court. The court against adjourned the hearing for half an hour from bringing Musharraf in court. Later on Musharraf appeared before the court at 1:05 pm and his vehicle was parked before the gate of special court.
When Musharraf entered in the court the counsels of Musharraf welcomed him with clapping. Meanwhile Musharraf met with his counsels. When the judges entered in the courtroom all the people including Musaharraf stood in respect of judges. Justice Faisal Arab asked Anwar Mansoor whether his client could stand; upon this Anwar Mansoor asked Musharrat to stand up from his seat. Musharraf stood up for two minutes after that Justice Faisal asked him to sit down again. Justice Faisal Arab said that according to law the accused would be indicted on his first appearance in court, adding that the court wants to fulfill the legality. But the counsel of Musharraf, Anwar Mansoor opposed the views of judges. He said the court should decide the petitions filed against the authority of court and appointment of judges of court, appointment of prosecutor and transfer of case in military court. He said there is no problem Musharraf would again appear before the court. He said if the charge sheet against Musahrraf would be read out today and later it was decided that the court did not enjoy authority to proceed against Musharraf then it would be not right thing.
During the proceedings Prosecutor Akram Sheikh read out the orders of the special court for summoning Musharraf for indictment purpose. Akram Sheikh read out the 24th December and 10th January orders of the court. Akram Sheikh said Anwar Mansoor had received all the documents and copy of charge sheet two months ago, adding that Musharraf has already read out the charge sheet. Akram Sheikh read out the order of the court in which Musharraf was summoned on 1st January for indictment. The court after hearing the arguments said that it would deliver judgment on the plea of court authority first and incident Musharraf later on. The special court said that framing of charges against the Musharraf will be done after taking a decision over application against the court’s authority.
The court adjourned further hearing of the case till today (Wednesday). After the hearing Musharraf against went to AFIC in tight security.
The 70-year-old Parvez Musharraf arrived in a heavily protected cavalcade at the National Library in Islamabad where the court has been holding hearings.
Meanwhile, security was tightened up on the former president’s route from the AFIC to the court.
Moreover, helicopters were providing air cover as part of the security arrangements for the former military strongman.
Earlier on Feb 7, the special court trying the ex-army strongman had ordered him to appear on Tuesday.
Musharraf was to appear before the court on Jan. 2 but his convoy was diverted to Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) – where he was under treatment for heart problems.
Musharraf faces treason charges, which can carry the death penalty, over his suspension of the constitution and imposition of a state of emergency in 2007 while he was president.
He was first ordered before the tribunal on December 24 but had missed repeated hearings since then due to bomb scares and health issues that saw him complain of a heart problem.
Islamabad police had readied a rigorous security plan, with over 2500 security personnel deployed at his route from the military hospital to the special court.