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Threats can’t block way of treason case; Special Court observes

Threats can’t block way of treason case; Special Court observes

mushrafISLAMABAD: The special court constituted to try former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf for treason has stated that the hearing of the case can not be postponed for indefinite time due to threatening letters and attacks, meanwhile the court has adjourned the hearing until March 07 when the ruling on a plea relating to biased judges will be announced.

A three-member special court bench under Justice Faisal Arab heard the case during which Musharraf’s lawyers expressed security concerns and said they could not continue with the court proceedings under the prevailing security situation.

The court has maintained that the former military dictator would be indicted on March 11 as per the court orders and Musharraf has to appear before the court in any condition.

During the course of hearing Musharraf’s lawyers presented a threatening letter claimed to be from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the special court and claimed while under oath that an attack could occur in the special court as well.

Ahmed Raza Kasuri, read the letter in the court which said that if lawyers Hafeez Pirzada, Anwar Mansoor and Kasuri did not dissociate themselves from Musharraf’s trial, the three would face dire consequences.

Kasuri added that the attack in a court in Islamabad two days earlier also appeared to have been linked to the same issue.

Musharraf’s lawyers told the court that protesting the court attack in Islamabad, bar councils had decided to boycott court proceedings until March 9 and all lawyers were subordinate to their instructions.

Kasuri arguing the case informed the court that the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has threatened his client’s legal team including himself, Anwar Mansoor Advocate and Sharifuddin Pirzada to press for their disassociation from the case.

Kasuri further said that Musharraf’s counsel could not continue pleading the case in such circumstances, adding that the court be moved to some secure place for which the petition has been filed.

Rana Ijaz, one of Musharraf’s lawyers, informed the court that he has received credible reports that the special court will be attacked. He stated that it was not just the three-member bench, led by Justice Faisal Arab, that would be targeted, but three of Musharraf’s advocates are also in danger.

Justice Arab responded to these reports, stating that they could not halt legal proceedings based on threats. He said that he had spoken to the inspector general and commissioner of Islamabad for around an hour on March 4 and they had assured him that the court is secure.
Kasuri told the court that if anything were to happen to him, he would place blame on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Mansoor revealed that he was stopped at gunpoint by two men in Karachi and he was no longer in the frame of mind to try this case.

Justice Arab inquired from Mansoor if he could recommend a better security solution to which he replied that he would have to think over the matter.

Mansoor also told the court that he was not provided with security despite the court’s earlier orders to which Justice Arab replied that he had refused the security on his own.

After hearing this, Justice Arab responded that though dangers existed nothing could be done about it and the case could not be stopped in order to wait for a suitable time over the threats.

Kasuri claimed that if anything were to happen to him the Sharif brothers would be held responsible adding that he had taken one prime minister to the gallows and would bring the Sharif brothers as well.

Another lawyer for Musharraf, Rana Ijaz, assured the court that it would also be attacked and all the three judges and chief prosecutor Akram Sheikh would be blown up.

Meanwhile Prosecutor Akram Sheikh Advocate argued that the courts work even during war, adding that he would continue his struggle against terrorism.

Justice Faisal Arab in his observation said that the file of the case could not be closed and dumped in record room in view of any threat. “We are conscious of our responsibility, if the case comes before the court, it has to be proceeded, we cannot leave our job for any threat of life.”

Justice Faisal Arab said that I have held meeting with Chief Commissioner and IG Police, adding that both officials have been asked for proper security measures.

Earlier on the start of hearing Akram Sheikh offered Fateha for the deceased of the Islamabad incident.

Subsequently, the court resumed the hearing of the case until Mar 7.

Talking to media after the hearing, Kasuri said that in the prevailing situation he would not advise his client to appear in court nor would he step down from his position of Musharraf’s counsel.

He further said that he was not under any fear with regard to the letter and that his motive was only to inform the court regarding the development.

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