ISLAMABAD: The special court conducting Pervez Musharraf’s high treason trial directed him to appear before it on January 16, warning that appropriate orders would be issued against him if he failed to do so.
After examining the medical report of the former military ruler, which was submitted by the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) on January 7, the special court summoned him on January 16. The three-member bench of the special court, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, observed that Musharraf had failed to obey its order regarding his personal appearance before it. “The medical report does not reflect that the accused suffered a heart attack or that he is ailing to an extent that he is unable to appear before the court,” the court observed.
Likewise, a parliamentary panel has also taken notice of Musharraf’s non-appearance before the special court. The newly elected chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, Senator Afrasiab Khattak on Thursday hinted at looking into this matter. Raza Rabbani, a member of the committee, raised the question that if five prime ministers and a former president can appear before the court, why were uniformed personnel defying the courts’ orders.
The special court noted in its order that Musharraf’s medical report does not suggest that he, in his present state of health, is unable to attend the court. It said no material was placed on record to justify his inability to appear in court. The court stated that the accused reported discomfort in his chest and left arm and this could have been a symptom of a heart attack or angina pain, or some other kind of heart ailment, but it turned out to be a false alarm, as the medical report does not state that, after medical examination, the discomfort in the chest or left arm that Musharraf felt was due to any heart ailment.
It said that on three hearings, the court had excused the absence of the accused solely on the grounds that he was hospitalised, and that was done in spite of the fact that neither was any application filed for exemption from appearance nor was the court verbally requested on behalf of the accused.
Earlier, during the hearing, Musharraf’s leading counsel, Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, read out certain portions of the medical report and stated that the main condition from which the accused was suffering was heart ailment, therefore, angiography had been advised. He further stated that Musharraf may have to undergo open-heart surgery and he would be within his rights to seek best possible treatment, even if it meant going abroad.
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