Islamabad (October 09, 2018): A two-judge bench of a special court hearing treason charges against retired General Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday said that it is vital the former president’s statement be recorded in the case.
In today’s hearing, Justice Ali said that the former president’s statement could be recorded on Skype.
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Musharraf’s lawyer Salman Safdar said that he would have to ask his client if he wished to provide his statement over Skype.
“Can a 342 statement [statement of the accused] be recorded over Skype?” Justice Ali asked.
“The court had taken Mubarak Saigol’s witness testimony in the Benazir Bhutto murder case on Skype,” the lawyer told the court while adding that he would have to find out if the same can be done in the case of a 342 statement.
“It is not that the defendant does not wish to appear in court, it is that he is unable to be here because of his health,” the lawyer explained.“Musharraf had assured us that he would return,” Justice Yawar Ali said, adding that the matter had now been raised in the Supreme Court.
To this, the lawyer responded that Musharraf is not returning at the moment and that even Interpol had refused to issue red warrants against the former president.
“The law will take due course if he does not return,” the prosecutor added.
The court, while adjourning the hearing till Monday, told Musharraf’s lawyer to inform the court about the former president’s decision regarding recording his statement over Skype in the next hearing.Earlier on October 02, Supreme Court sought medical report of former President, Pervez Musharraf and assured not to arrest him in any case until he appears in the court, however, CJP remarked that the Supreme Court will continue issuing red warrants if Pervez Musharraf does not return to Pakistan.
During the hearing of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) case, defence lawyer Akhtar Shah told that his client Musharraf is suffering from some serious disease.
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As the case’s hearing went underway, the former president’s counsel Akhtar Shah apprised the court that he had talked to his client on September 27. “Musharraf has medical and security issues but he has promised that he will return,” Shah said.
Further, the defense counsel contended that his client was not accused in the Lal Masjid case. “Musharraf has not been indicted,” Shah said.
Responding to the former president’s lawyer, Justice Nisar said: “I had earlier told you that nobody will arrest Musharraf. He should record his statement in the treason case before a special court.”The top judge further remarked that the courts could not allow Musharraf to reject their authority. “If Musharraf will continue to stay abroad, we will keep issuing red warrants,” Justice Nisar said.
During the hearing, Shah informed the bench that his client was suffering from an ailment of a serious nature. To this, Justice Nisar said that Musharraf should get his ailment treated. “I too am suffering from a painful backache. We have arrangements for top-of-the-line treatment for Musharraf’s ailment here,” he said.
The court said if Musharraf is suffering from back pain, then he will be treated.Chief Justice of Pakistan said Pervez Musharraf should appear before the court, he will be given due respect, why the commando is not returning to country volunteer? asked CJP.
The top judge further remarked that the courts could not allow Musharraf to reject their authority. “If Musharraf will continue to stay abroad, we will keep issuing red warrants,” Justice Nisar said.
“Musharraf must avoid any situation where he may have to return to Pakistan in a way that will cause embarrassment,” the judge remarked adding that the former president and Ishaq Dar are both hiding in foreign countries.Moreover, Justice Nisar said Musharraf will be provided with security no matter where he lands in Pakistan. “We are granting him a protective bail,” he added.
The hearing was then adjourned till October 11.
Background Of Case:
Nominating Musharraf, Zardari and Qayyum as respondents, petitioner Feroz Shah Gilani had requested the court in April to order recovery of ‘huge amounts of public money’ misappropriated and wasted by them through unlawful means ‘already on record in different judgments of the Supreme Court and high court’.
He had contended that Musharraf subverted the Constitution by declaring emergency followed by the promulgation of the NRO, through which criminal and corruption cases against politicians, including Zardari, were “arbitrarily withdrawn”.