ISLAMABAD: All eyes are on the special court once again. The trial of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf seems to have entered an important stage, as a no-show at today’s (Thursday) hearing might oblige the three-member bench to pass ‘appropriate orders’.
On Jan 10, the special court decided that the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is applicable in this rare high treason trial, which means the court can issue arrest warrants for Musharraf.
The bench head, Justice Faisal Arab, at several instances held that while the case is ‘non-bailable’, the arrest warrants for the accused can be issued. “But don’t force us to take an extreme step,” he had warned earlier.
After examining the under-treatment former military ruler’s medical report on Jan 9, the court ordered that Musharraf appear before it so he can be indicted for his Nov 3, 2007 emergency and subversion of the Constitution.
The court observed in its Jan 9 order that the medical report doesn’t suggest that the accused in his present state of health is unable to attend the court, nor was any material placed on record to justify his inability to appear.
Subsequently, the court turned down an application filed by Anwar Mansoor Khan, a member of Musharraf’s legal team, seeking a stay against the Jan 9 order of the court. Meanwhile, Advocate Ahmad Raza Kasuri, another member of Musharraf’s legal team, said, “General sahib is not shy. He wants to appear before the court as he has appeared before lower courts in the past but he is still not well and has not been discharged from the hospital. The doctors’ decision will be considered final regarding his appearance. The courts normally admit doctors’ suggestions,” he added.
Asked whether doctors can intervene in legal matters, Kasuri dismissed the question and said that he does not wish to be cross-examined. “We will tell the court verbally that Musharraf is not able to appear,” he said with confidence.
“If doctors say his condition is not fit and that leaving AFIC (Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology) will have a negative effect on his health, he will probably not come. If doctors say his treatment will be better abroad, he will have to go abroad. Life has got bigger connotations than justice. Justice is subservient to life. The doctor has to be the one to decide,” he told The Express Tribune.
Interestingly, in one of the hearings Prosecutor Akram Sheikh had argued that in 2002, Musharraf himself suggested that judges, government and army officials entitled to state expenses should not seek treatment for cardio-related issues abroad, as Pakistan has reputable hospitals to address such concerns.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2014.
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