Former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s legal counsel Ahmed Raza Kasuri claimed on Sunday that his client’s appearance before the court was conditional on the improvement in his health condition.
Justifying Musharraf’s absence from the hearings on medical grounds, Kasuri said, “At present, he [Musharraf] is not a normal person and I cannot say exactly if he will appear before the court, because he is sick and under observation.”
“I cannot say that the former president will appear before the special court on January 16 because that is subject to permission from his physicians,” he added.
Last week, the special court had ordered Musharraf to appear at a hearing on January 16, after reviewing the medical reports presented by the Armed Forced Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), where he has been receiving treatment for a heart condition for more than 10 days.
“The medical report does not suggest that the accused, in his present state of health, is unable to attend the court, nor any material was placed on record to justify his inability to appear,” the court order issued on January 9 stated. “It is clear that the accused has failed to obey and comply with the order of this court,” the order further states.
Musharraf, who faces a possible indictment for a host of charges, was rushed to the military hospital earlier this month while he was en route for a hearing in the treason case. The prosecution, however, claimed that the diversion to the hospital was a tactic to avoid the court hearing.
Commenting on the issue, Supreme Court lawyer and constitutional law expert Salman Akram Raja said that the court can review his latest medical reports and decide whether the former president can appear before the bench on the hearing date.
Raja also pointed out that the special court has the authority to issue a warrant if the former president skips the upcoming hearing without any medical reason or advice from his doctors.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2014.
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