If Musharraf fails to honor this commitment, he is liable to pay a penalty of Rs 2.5 million, according to the bond. Musharraf is due to appear before the special court on Friday but there are murmurs from his top aides about the likelihood of his appearance at the hearing.
APML general secretary Dr Muhammad Amjad told The Express Tribune, “Musharraf’s appearance before the three-judge special court led by Justice Faisal Arab is out of the question because the special court’s decision has already been challenged before the apex court.” Meanwhile, party member Ahmad Raza Kasuri says a decision had been taken regarding a court appearance, but said it is ‘secret’. Kasuri says Musharraf had submitted the bond under protest and without recognizing the authority and jurisdiction of the special court. The surety bond has been submitted under section 494/497 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
Additionally, a senior member of the former president’s legal team says Musharraf wrote a note on the back page of the bond saying, ‘The coercive process and proceedings before the special court are non quorum non judis and ultra vires and void. The court has till date not decided the issue of jurisdiction, constitution of the court and the application, filed by the secretary under Article 6, which is seriously contested. The court also not decided the application, where the appointment of the prosecutor has been challenged. In view of the above, no penal consequence can follow’. Last week, the special court issued bailable arrest warrants for Musharraf. “Musharraf penned a similar note on the arrest warrants issued on Monday,” the lawyer added.
Major General (retd) Rashid Quraishi is named as guarantor in this bond – he has therefore undertaken to ensure the presence of the accused if required by the bench. In the event of breaching the terms of the bond, Quraishi must pay the hefty financial penalty. Nazir Ahmad and Mumtaz Hussain are listed as witnesses to the surety bond.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Dr Amjad announced that the APML will stage protests in cities across the country on February 7, the day the party chief is due to appear in court. “If all political leaders of the country including PM Nawaz Sharif, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujjat can go abroad for medical checkups then how can Musharraf be denied the right to his own choice of treatment?” he asked.
Dr Amjad said Musharraf had given his party the go-ahead to hold rallies and stage protests against the discriminatory treatment he is facing. Protests will be held outside the press clubs in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Kashmir, Muzaffarabad, Multan, Gilgat–Baltistan and Chitral after noon prayers on Friday. Dr Amjad will lead a rally from the APML central secretariat to the Islamabad press club.
A security official told The Express Tribune that a few days ago, Musharraf refused to grant time for a visit to Dr Amjad as he was unhappy that the party did not protest the treatment he has been receiving. Dr Amjad then apologized, according to the official. Speaking with The Express Tribune, Dr Amjad refuted the claims and said he met the retired general four days ago. “Initially he did not allow the party to hold rallies but he has given us his consent after we have insisted on raising our voice,” Dr Amjad said. “We are determined to even hold a million-man march if needed.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2014.