The Anti Terrorism Court expressed outrage at the continued absence of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf at the Benazir Bhutto assassination case hearing on Tuesday, and directed the police to ensure his appearance at the next hearing on July 30.
Hearing the proceedings on Tuesday, ATC-1 Special Judge Chaudhry Habibur Rahman also warned that failure to present Musharraf would compel him to stop the trial, and directed the Rawalpindi police to either produce him before the court on July 30 or shift him to Adiala Jail.
He observed that there could not be any more delays in the case as the court wanted to dispose it of as soon as possible.
The former president had not appeared before the ATC at the last hearing into the BB murder case because of security threats, despite the fact that court had directed the police to ensure his presence.
Special Judge Rahman also reprimanded Senior Superintendent Police, Israr Ahmad Abbasi, and other police officials present at the hearing for not providing adequate security to the accused.
“This is not an authentic argument. Without the accused, the hearing of the case cannot be carried on. Present him on the next date of hearing or else I will stop hearing the case,” Rahman remarked.
Special Public Prosecutor Federal Investigation Agency, Chaudhry Azhar Ali, told the ATC that the failure to present Musharraf before it was causing repeated delays in the hearing of the murder case.
Meanwhile, in a petition filed by Musharraf for the recovery of his assets, the court sought an answer from the FIA.
The court issued a notice to FIA on an application filed by Musharraf’s lawyer Ilyas Siddiqui to defreeze his assets, before adjourning the hearing.
In a separate hearing, the ATC dismissed the bail plea of Aitzaz Shah, one of five accused arrested in BB murder case.
The court earlier reserved the verdict after conclusion of arguments of both the prosecution and defence lawyers.
Naseer Tanwali Advocate, representing Aitzaz, argued that as court had already granted bail to three of the main accused despite the nature of allegations, the court should also grant his client bail.
Tanwali added that his client was a juvenile at the time of his arrest. Countering his arguments, FIA prosecutor Ali said the ATC had already rejected the bail pleas of the accused twice.
“The accused (Aitzaz) is a very dangerous man. The court should reject his bail,” the prosecutor asserted. Following that, Rahman rejected the bail plea of the accused.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2013.