ISLAMABAD: In an unprecedented move, the special court hearing high treason case against General (retd) Pervez Musharraf has given the federal government the go-ahead to suspend passport and CNIC of the former military ruler.
“In case the accused fails to submit his written request as mentioned hereinabove the ministry of interior and all other departments, divisions and agencies of the government of Pakistan are to take positive steps in ensuring the arrest of the accused and attachment of his properties abroad, including suspension of the CNIC and passport of the accused,” reads four-page order of the special court, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune.
If the federal government suspends his passport and CNIC, Musharraf will not be able to travel to any country.
The court had earlier directed the interior ministry to approach Interpol for arrest of former President.
The three-member bench, headed by Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and comprising Lahore High Court CJ Yawar Ali and Justice Tahira Safdar of the Balochistan High Court, had conducted the last hearing on March 8. However, the written order was issued later.
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Since 2013, the special court is hearing the treason case against Musharraf for subverting the constitution on November 3, 2007. The next hearing of the case has been fixed for March 21.
The order says that Akhtar Shah, the counsel for Musharraf, stated that his client intends to appear before the court but he should be provided security by the defence ministry.
“This court is alive to the request made by counsel for accused and in case, the accused intends to appear before this court on March 21, he may within seven days approach the ministry of interior in writing for the requisite protection that was offered by the head of prosecution on May 19, 2017,” the order read.
The special court in its order has directed that in case Musharraf fails to submit his written request seeking security, the interior ministry and all other departments, divisions and agencies are to take positive steps in ensuring the arrest of the accused and attachment of his properties abroad, including suspension of the passport and CNIC of the accused.
Legal experts believe that the special court’s order to suspend his CNIC and passport is very significant as it will halt the movement of Musharraf abroad.
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Advocate Akhtar Shah while talking to The Express Tribune claimed that he had already sent two applications through courier to the ministries of interior and defence for providing foolproof security to his client, Musharraf, on his arrival to ensure presence in the court. He, however, stated that they have yet to receive any response from the two ministries.
On the other hand, prosecution head Akram Sheikh said that ministry has yet to receive any application by Musharraf’s counsel. He also urged the interior ministry to start process for the suspension of Musharraf’s CNIC and passport, adding that the former army chief’s movement will be completely stopped after the suspension of passport.
The special court in its order has expressed dismay at the inaction of the federal government in taking positive steps to ensure the arrest of Musharraf, who has already been declared proclaimed offender.
“In this regard, the court was informed that the accused is presently residing in United Arab Emirates and that there is an extradition treaty between government of UAE and government of Pakistan which could be invoked to ensure the arrest of the accused and attachment of his properties in UAE,” says the order.
The court also asked the federal government to make requisite request to Interpol for the issuance of appropriate warrant for his arrest and for his production before the court.
The case hearing will resume on March 21.