Special court asks Musharraf to Appear in-person on March 31 in Treason Case
ISLAMABAD: The special court seized with the high treason case on Tuesday summoned former president retired General Pervez Musharraf to record his statement.
The three-judge special court, headed by Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court Mazhar Alam Miankhel, directed the former military ruler to record his statement under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
Under this section, the statement of an accused is recorded after the prosecution completes producing evidence in order to give him an opportunity to accept or deny the proofs that may lead to his conviction.
During the brief proceedings of the high treason case on Tuesday, advocate Mohammad Akram Sheikh, the head of the prosecution, told the court that the Supreme Court of Pakistan while disposing of a petition filed by retired Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar had asked the special court to continue with the trial of Gen Musharraf instead of waiting for the outcome of any reinvestigation.
When the court asked advocate Faisal Hussain, one of the defence counsel, why Gen Musharraf was absent, he replied that because the former military ruler was unwell, he could not travel from Karachi to attend the proceedings of the treason case.
He also produced a medical report along with the opinion of an orthopedic surgeon, Imtiaz Hashmi, advising Gen Musharraf to take rest.
Advocate Hussain also informed the court that since a strike call was given by Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Barrister Farogh Nasim, the lead defence counsel for Gen Musharraf and the PBC vice-chairman, could not appear before the court.
He requested the court to adjourn the proceedings till the next month to provide an opportunity to Gen Musharraf to get necessary treatment and appear before the court to give a testimony.
The court adjourned the proceedings till March 31, directing Gen Musharraf to appear in person to record his statement.
The former president was nominated as the sole accused in the high treason case in December 2013. In March 2014, he was indicted in the case by the special court.
The prosecution has laid all the evidence and produced its witnesses before the special court. The last prosecution witness testified on September 18, 2014.
However, the trial of the former military ruler was delayed after the special court in November 2014 ordered for including former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, federal minister Zahid Hamid and former chief justice of Pakistan Abdul Hameed Dogar in the case. The three challenged the verdict in the Islamabad High Court (IHC). The IHC last year ordered the FIA to reinvestigate the treason case to ascertain the role of facilitators in the imposition of the November 3, 2007, emergency.
In subsequent proceedings, the special court summoned the progress report from the FIA while the trial proceedings remained stalled.
However, in its recent decision, the Supreme Court asked the special court to continue the trial of Gen Musharraf without waiting for the outcome of the reinvestigation.
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