Pak SC to intervene if special court fails to record Musharraf’s statement in treason case
Islamabad, Mar 25: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday proposed three options for Pervez Musharraf to record his statement in the treason case against him and said that it would intervene if the special court fails to record the former military dictator’s testimony.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, said Musharraf’s trial will be conducted under any and all circumstances as it expressed annoyance at his continued absence from the hearing.
Justice Khosa said “sometimes Musharraf goes to the hospital and sometimes to his house. After the last hearing, we were sure that he would be admitted to the hospital, he said, adding that it seems his car takes wrong turns while coming to court”.
Musharraf, 75, who has been living in Dubai since 2016, is facing the high-profile treason case for suspending the Constitution in 2007. A conviction for high-profile treason carries the death penalty or life imprisonment.
“One option is that Musharraf should either appear in the next hearing. The second option is Musharraf should record his statement via a video link and as a third option, Musharraf’s lawyer Salman Safdar should answer on his behalf,” said Chief Justice Khosa.
Khosa said the former president used to show fists but cautioned that he shouldn’t show the court one.
Khosa asked what could be done if the accused was not appearing in the court.
“Is the court helpless if an accused in not appearing deliberately in the court,” said the Justice Khosa.
Musharraf’s lawyer, however, rejected all the options and said that the defendant was too ill to answer questions via video link or in person.
Last week, Musharraf was admitted to a hospital in Dubai after suffering a reaction from a rare disease that has weakened his nervous system.
The prosecution lawyer pointed out that the court also has the option of sending a commission to question the former president.
Hearing this, Justice Khosa said: “He [Musharraf] will reach the hospital before the commission gets to him. His doctors are not even going to let the commission meet him.”
During the hearing, the court was informed that the government had previously tried to bring Musharraf back to the country through extradition and Interpol. “We were unable to succeed on both occasions,” said the deputy attorney general.
The court said the special court handling the treason case would decide on how the statement should be recorded.
“If that court cannot decide upon this in the next hearing on March 28, the Supreme Court will make the decision,” the chief justice said.
The court adjourned the hearing until April 1.
The previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had filed the treason case against the ex-army chief general (retd) Musharraf in 2013 over the imposition of extra-constitutional emergency in November 2007.
The trial has not seen much progress since Musharraf left went to Dubai in March 2016. He has not returned since.