Security scare delays treason trial of former COAS : Special court to frame charges against Musharraf on New Year

* Court decides to look into objections raised by Musharraf on formation of court on next hearing * Orders govt to ensure security to former president
Security scare delays treason trial of former COAS :  Special court to frame charges against Musharraf on New Year

ISLAMABAD: The special court has decided to frame the charge against Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case on January 1.
The charge relates to subversion of the constitution by the former military ruler while imposing emergency in the country on November 3, 2007. On the other hand, the legal team of Musharraf has raised certain objections over the formation of the special court as well as appointment of special prosecutor by filing two separate petitions. The court has decided to look into the objections of the accused during the next hearing of the case.
A three-member special court, headed by Justice Faisal Arab and comprising Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar and Justice Yawar Ali on Tuesday initiated the proceedings over the government’s complaint against Musharraf for the offence of high treason under Article 6 of the constitution, read with section 3 of the high treason (Punishment Act 1973) and section 5 of the criminal law amendment (special court) Act, 1976. 
The venue of the special court is National Library and entry of journalists and lawyers was ensured through special passes. Security around the National Library very tight and journalists were not allowed to bring mobile phones in the premises of National Library. Likewise, more than a dozen Rangers officials were deputed inside the hall of the National Library.
Anwar Manoor Khan, counsel for the accused, told the court that his client could not appear before it due to the serious security threats to his life. He said that a bomb was found near Musharraf’s residence early in the morning. A five-kilogramme bomb was recovered from the route that Musharraf was to take to the court. The explosive was discovered minutes before the former military ruler’s departure from his house to appear before the special court, police sources said. 
According to reports, security forces also recovered two pistols wrapped in plastic from near the bomb. The recovery was made near Musharraf’s farmhouse in Chak Shehzad when security forces were clearing the route, which he was due to take to reach the court hearing the treason case against him. Police told the media that two pistols; a detonator wire and 16 bullets were recovered just a kilometre away from Musharraf’s residence. The Bomb Disposal Squad defused the bomb. 
Police sources said that it was not connected to any detonator and was not a “live bomb”. Hundreds of policemen and army soldiers were deployed on route to the makeshift court for security reasons. The court was sealed with shipping containers. Anwar Manoor Khan submitted that unless adequate security measures are taken by the authorities his client could not ensure his appearance before the court.
The court told the counsel to file a written application for the exemption of the accused from appearing before the court only for today (Tuesday). On the other hand, government’s prosecutor Nasiruddin Nayar requested the court to issue non-bailable arrest warrant of Musharraf, saying the physical attendance of the accused was necessary in this case. He noted that the offence that he was being tried for was non-bailable.
The court, however, rejected the prosecutor’s plea regarding the issuance of non-bailable warrant. “We cannot force someone who is facing security threat to come to the court,” Justice Faisal Arab observed. The prosecutor, however, said that the court should then fix the date for the indictment of the accused. “We will follow the procedure,” Justice Faisal Arab replied.
The court granted Musharraf one-time exception from his appearance before it and directed its registrar to ensure foolproof security to the accused from his residence to the court on the next hearing. The special court in its order further observed that the federal government’s complaint would be read out to the accused on January 1. The court’s registrar also supplied the copy of the government’s complaint to Musharraf’s counsel.
Meanwhile, submitting two petitions in the special court against formation of a bench and appointment of prosecutor, Musharraf’s legal team raised the objection that the act of the federal government was not an independent act, but was an act by persons who were inimical to Pervez Musharraf. It also contended that the creation of the special court is an unlawful action.

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