SC to hear treason case against Musharraf after June 12

SC to hear treason case against Musharraf after June 12

ISLAMABAD: A trial court on Thursday accepted former military ruler retired Gen Pervez Musharraf’s request to postpone the hearing of a case pertaining to charges of high treason due to medical reasons ‘beyond his control’.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Tahira Safdar adjourned the case hearing till June 12 when his counsel Salman Safdar told the court that his client could not travel to Pakistan due to his precarious health condition.

The court was told that he was ashamed and apologetic for not appearing in the court.

The court had in a previous hearing ordered the former president to appear before it on May 02.

Musharraf in a fresh petition pleaded to court to put off hearing of the case. The court also issued notice to the prosecution over a plea of the defendant to dismiss the case.

The prosecution counsel argued before the court that the Supreme Court had ruled earlier that the former president will be deprived of his right to defend if he would not appear in the trial court on May 2 hearing.

“We have read the Supreme Court order,” Justice Nazar Akbar said. “Tell us we can hear fresh petition or not. Whether we are working as an independent court or not. Are you opposing this petition,” Justice Nazar Akbar asked the prosecution counsel.

Prosecution lawyer pleaded to the bench for rejection of Musharraf’s petition. The prosecution called the bench to annul the right of defence of the accused.

“The hearing could not be adjourned over ill health under section 9,” the counsel argued. “Can you challenge diseases described in the medical certificate,” the bench asked the counsel. “How can I challenge if medical certificate is attached,” prosecution lawyer said.

Pervez Musharraf’s counsel argued, “The Supreme Court order would have enforced in case of deliberate absence and if a new petition not submitted. The fresh petition shows that Musharraf wanted to appear before the court. He could not appear due to ill health, so he should be given an opportunity,” defence counsel said. He pleaded for adjournment of the case in view of the petition.

The special court adjourned hearing of the case until June 12.

The Supreme Court had earlier said that if Musharraf does not appear before the special court on May 2, he would lose his right to record a statement under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedures (CrPC).

The court further said that in case of Musharraf’s absence on May 2 hearing, the court should give its decision based off the arguments of the prosecution.

Musharraf on Thursday was scheduled to record his statement before the trial court, under the directives of the Supreme Court (SC), under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code to complete the treason trial.

He had requested the court to postpone the hearing until the end of Ramazan. The application also stated that in light of the life-threatening medical condition of the petitioner, supported by medical certificate and photographic evidences, his absence was caused by factors beyond human control.

On April 1, the Supreme Court had directed the special court to proceed with the trial on the next date of hearing (May 2).

But if he failed to appear, being a PO (proclaimed offender), the special court is empowered to proceed against him even in his absence under Section 9 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973, the SC had ruled.

Musharraf is facing treason trial under Article 6 of the Constitution as well as Section 2 of the High Treason Act.

He was indicted for high treason by a special court in March 2014, but left for Dubai in 2016 to “seek medical treatment” and has not returned since. NNI

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