Musharraf fails to appear in court, says can’t trust police for security

* Court says it doesn’t want to humiliate former COAS by issuing his arrest warrants * Counsel tells court it would be responsible for any harm to Musharraf
Musharraf fails to appear in court, says can’t trust police for security

ISLAMABAD: Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has shown mistrust in the Islamabad police regarding provision of security to him for appearance in the special court that is hearing the high treason case against him.
When the three-member special court, headed by Justice Faisal Arab and whose other members are Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar and Justice Yawar Ali, on Wednesday resumed the hearing over the federal government’s complaint against Musharraf for the offence of high treason, the counsel for the accused, Anwar Mansoor Khan, said that interior secretary was himself the complainant against his client and the capital police falls under his control, therefore, they had zero confidence on the Islamabad police for provision of security to Pervez Musharraf on his personal appearance before the court.
The special court will pass an order today (Thursday) over whether Musharraf could be arrested in the high treason case or not. On the other hand, the legal team of the former military dictator has contended that the court cannot issue arrest warrant against the accused at this stage under the High Treason Act 1976. Justice Faisal Arab observed that in such offences, a police official could arrest the accused, and noted that Musharraf has not obtained bail so far in this case as it was of a criminal nature.
Justice Faisal Arab also said that the court did not want to humiliate or embarrass Musharraf as he was a former president and chief of army staff, therefore it has only issued summons and not an arrest warrant. Earlier, Musharraf’s counsel Ahmad Raza Qasuri told the court that his client was facing a grave security threat. He stated that if the court wanted to summon Musharraf in the prevailing situation then it (court) would be responsible for any harm caused to him. Responding to this, Justice Faisal Arab said, “Do not threaten the court as it functions even in times of war.”
The counsel stated that the venue of the special court was not secure. Harsh wards were exchanged between special prosecutor Akram Sheikh and Ahmad Raza Qasuri several times during the proceedings over the appearance of Musharraf in the special court. Qasuri alleged that Akram Sheikh had a close relation with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Islamabad Inspector General Sikandar Hayat told the court that 708 policemen and 278 Rangers’ officials were deployed to ensure safe travelling of Musharraf from his farmhouse to the court. 
He admitted that no bomb-proof vehicle was available in Islamabad. Justice Faisal observed that they were not satisfied with the security arrangements. The IGP further said that all efforts that were humanly possible will be made to bring Musharraf from his residence, which is hardly 5 kilometres away from the court, which is set up in the auditorium of National Library. Meanwhile, raising objections over the constitution of the court, Anwar Mansoor Khan contended that the notification regarding the formation of the bench was illegal. 
He said there are five high courts but services of only three high courts’ judges have been taken in the high treason case. The counsel argued that it was the cabinet’s decision but the incumbent prime minister had ordered trial of his client, therefore he had violated the procedure in this case and subverted the constitution. Anwar Mansoor raised the objection that there was no consultative process between the government and the chief justice of Pakistan regarding the formation of the special bench in high treason case. 
He asked whether former CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry should have been consulted regarding the constitution of the special court “when he was biased against Musharraf”. Raising objections over the members of the bench, Anwar Mansoor Khan said that Justice Faisal Arab was affected by the PCO issued by Pervez Musharraf. Regarding Justice Yawar, the counsel stated that he was appointed by ex-CJP on the recommendation of Justice (r) Khalilur Ramday, as he is a friend of the ex-chief justice. 

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